A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $44,225 Salary

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Today: an information and records technician and Etsy seller working in real estate and retail, respectively, who makes $44,225 per year and spends some of her money this week on Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream.
Occupation: Information & Records Technician & Etsy Seller
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 35
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $42,330 (technician), $1,895 (Etsy)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,256; I get small Etsy cheques whenever something sells.
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,431.65 (I live alone in a one-bedroom, and this includes indoor parking.)
Hydro: $65 (more in summer, less in winter)
Internet: $45
Phone: $55
Car & Tenant Insurance: $160
Pet Insurance: $80
Dog Walker: $472 (The walker comes at lunchtime when I'm at work.)
Netflix: $10
Gym Membership: $264
Tax-Free Savings Account: $25 (It's not much, but it's better than $0, right?)
RRSP: $32.56 (2% is taken off each paycheque.)

Day One

6:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I don't want to get out of bed. Neither does my dog. I eventually pull on yoga pants and take him outside. We walk around the same few blocks every morning, with me braless in a PJ shirt. I look forward to when it's colder, and I can hide under a jacket.
7:20 a.m. — I feed the dog and hop in the shower while he snarfs down his breakfast. My morning skincare routine is “rub my wet face in my hands in the shower.” I'm so hungry in the mornings, but I'm usually in barely-awake-robot mode until I get to work, so breakfast needs to be easy. I make a smoothie with chocolate protein powder, frozen bananas, peanut butter, and almond milk. I drink it and watch last night's Stephen Colbert monologue on YouTube. Then I grab my gym clothes (don't forget socks!), lunch, and insulated mug, and head for the streetcar. (I use my pre-paid Presto card.)
9 a.m. — I arrive at work on time and make Earl Grey tea from my desk stash.
12 p.m. — Lunch time! I reheat brown rice, green beans, and ginger-soy ground turkey. I made four helpings of this on Sunday for lunches this week. I make another cup of Earl Grey and read a library book, The Mazovia Legacy by Michael E. Rose, on my Kobo while I eat.
1 p.m. — Back to work. I enjoy what I do, and I know I'm good at it, but I also know I'm not being paid enough, and there's no way to negotiate for more. I think about the job postings I looked at on Indeed last night.
5 p.m. — Work is over, and I head to the gym. This is a new thing for me. I started going five weeks ago, and it's the first time I've sweat since high school. This gym is expensive, but if you consider the fact that I always take a class and go at least four times a week, it's more reasonable. The classes aren't getting any easier, but I'm using slightly heavier weights, and I'm starting to ENJOY feeling completely worn out afterwards, instead of just wanting to pass out.
6:30 p.m. — I get home to my top-floor walkup and creak my way up the stairs. I take the dog out and drop off my laundry in the basement on our way out. We hang out in the park with our dog-owner friends until the washer is done. I put the laundry in the dryer on our way back inside. (My building's laundry machines were recently replaced and now work on a refillable card instead of coins. The good news: I don't have to collect quarters any more. The bad news: a wash and dry used to cost $4, but now it's $2.80 for a wash and $3 for a dry.) $5.80
7:10 p.m. — Dinner is leftover meatballs and tomato sauce while sitting on the couch watching Scandal. I made four helpings of this on Sunday as well.
8 p.m. — I was going to fill in a job application tonight, for a position paying $15,000 more than my current job, but I get distracted by the first three episodes of Diagnosis on Netflix. This lady was a consultant on House! I love House. The job opening doesn't close for another week though, so I have time.
11 p.m. — I take a bedtime dog walk, and it's still so sweaty out. I make my final trip up the stairs for the day. My Fitbit says I did 24 floors today!
11:30 p.m. — The dog and I sleep on the couch, under the air conditioner. My hydro bills are more in the summer because of fans and the AC. Luckily, heat is included in my rent, so I save in the winter.
Daily Total: $5.80

Day Two

6:50 a.m. — My morning routine is exactly the same.
8 a.m. — Packing my lunch, I realize I'm out of cooked green beans and throw frozen cauliflower in the container with my rice and turkey.
12 p.m. — The cauliflower has thawed just fine in the fridge, so I reheat my lunch and settle in to read. The Mazovia Legacy isn't the best. I'm not sure why I borrowed a noir-type thriller. I'm NOT a thriller person. But I finish it just in time to go back to work. Spoiler: The sweet, naïve woman dies, and the hard-boiled journalist-turned-spy has feelings about that.
3 p.m. — I think about cancelling my class reservation at the gym tonight, but then remember that all my clothes are too tight, and my gym membership is expensive.
5:15 p.m. — At strength class, the chin-ups are a little less scary than the last time. I'm not saying I can DO a chin up (hahahahahahaha), but I'm less scared about falling off the box I stand on to reach the bar.
6 p.m. — Class over, I hop on the streetcar. I feel bad about being this sweaty on transit, but I've smelled worse from other people. Why shower at the gym, though, when I can shower at home?
6:30 p.m. — I stop by the Loblaws at my streetcar stop. It's expensive, but it's right there. Earlier this week, I told myself I'd only eat what's in my fridge and pantry until the end of the month, but I have nothing prepared and don't want to cook tonight. I buy Olivieri skillet gnocchi ($1 off!), roasted garlic hummus, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream. NOW I will only eat pantry items until the end of the month. $16.97
7 p.m. — We're out for a dog walk and don't see any of our doggy friends tonight.
7:30 p.m. — I watch an episode of Scandal on Netflix and have gnocchi, cheese, and two fried eggs for dinner, followed by a third of the Ben & Jerry's, straight out of the container. After it gets melty enough, I cherry-pick the cookie dough lumps.
9 p.m. — I work on my cover letter for the great job. I also find a posting on Indeed for a position at the last place I worked. I'm missing one big qualification, but I think I could learn on the job fast enough. I debate emailing my former boss there, the one who is hiring for this position. This one pays $20,000 more than my current job.
10:30 p.m. — I walk the dog in a tank top and feel cold for the first time in months. I'm sleeping in the bed tonight, not on the couch!
Daily Total: $16.97

Day Three

8:32 a.m. — As I step on the streetcar, I realize I've left my insulated mug at home! When I get to work, I use one of their paper cups and feel sad because of the environmental waste, and also because it's so much smaller than my mug.
12 p.m. — Lunch is roasted garlic hummus with pita bread. I got the pitas for free last weekend, when I was driving for a grocery delivery app, and a customer wasn't there when dropped off their groceries.
12:45 p.m. — I deposit two cheques at lunch: $25 for participating in a focus group about yogurt, and $79 from federal and provincial student loans. I recently paid off $43,000 in loans and accidentally overpaid a few days' worth of interest. I keep joking about the government needing to pay ME interest now. I racked up my debt when I went back to school to do a Masters degree in 2016. I qualified for the Repayment Assistance Program based on my income, so that lowered my payments. Then my grandmother died and left enough to pay off about 40% of it, and my dad gave me money from his part of the inheritance to clear it completely. I cried when he told me he was doing that.
1:15 p.m. — After the bank, I go to Starbucks for a venti Earl Grey tea, because I want a bigger cup. I impulse-buy a cookie, too. I use up a gift card and pay $1.98 of my own money. $1.98
5:15 p.m. — Cardio class! Today marks my fifth week of going, and the first time I've done five classes in one week.
6:05 p.m. — No one wants to sit beside me on the subway. Weird.
6:30 p.m. — I walk the dog walk, by which I mean I cross the street to the park and stand there with the other dog owners while the dogs sniff and pee. I'm too tired for a walk-walk.
7:30 p.m. — I make more skillet gnocchi, cheese, and two eggs, but this time I make frozen peas, so there's something green in there. Some jerk has picked all the cookie dough lumps out of my ice cream, so I just end up finishing off the Ben & Jerry's vanilla. I was only going to watch one episode of Scandal, then work on my job applications. (Do I need to make a LinkedIn profile? Is it ethical to email my former manager to ask if I'd even get to the interview stage?) But instead I watch three episodes while playing stupid games on my phone.
11 p.m. — I walk el doggo wearing a SWEATSHIRT. Sweet, sweet cool air. We play tug for a bit when we get home.
12 a.m. — I like cooler nights because my dog comes to cuddle. I have grocery delivery hours booked for tomorrow morning, but I cancel them. I've only been doing this for a couple months, but the shine has worn off. They give newbies the easy shifts, and you think you've found the secret to easy money. Then all those good batches dry up, and you're stuck with crap, or people who want you to deliver 20 flats of water in your compact car (um, no). This month is also a three-payday month, which means I feel less strapped than previous months, so I don't feel guilty about cancelling.
Daily Total: $1.98

Day Four

7:40 a.m. — I'm awake because the dog is whining and stomping all over me. It's the weekend, and I have nowhere to be, so we go for a longer, more interesting walk than we do on weekday mornings. He is the goodest boy.
8:15 a.m. — The dog is eating his breakfast, and I make myself a bowl of oatmeal. I add a spoonful of almond butter and frozen raspberries to jazz it up. I check my emails while eating and find that I sold the 100th item from my Etsy shop! My shop has been open just under a year, so it's not fast-paced selling, but it's fun. Plus, I've done basically nothing to it for the past month, and I still had a few sales.
8:45 a.m. — I fill in a couple of screener surveys for more focus groups, cash out a $12 credit that I've accumulated doing little surveys on another site, and order a $25 Amazon.ca gift card with points I've earned on Swagbucks. My goal is to make an extra $200 a month with tasks like this, grocery delivery, and my Etsy shop. I know a part-time job would be more reliable, but I want to be home on the weekends to spend time with my pup. Right now, he's snoring like a chainsaw in his bed by my desk.
10:30 a.m. — I get distracted by the internet, but now it's time to shower and take the bus to a consignment store with two bags of clothes that are too small for me.
11:15 a.m. — When I drop the clothes off, the woman at the consignment store says it'll take about two hours to go through them, so I wander downtown and try not to buy anything. Although I may get a bubble tea...
12:30 p.m. — Yes, I buy a bubble tea, from a fancy new place. It's good, very Instagram-worthy (I did not take a photo) but is it worth $8? Not really. $8.09
1:30 p.m. — The shop calls to say they're done and, as I'm heading back, I get sucked in by Cobs Bakery. I can't resist a pizza bun ($3.10). The shop takes half my items and pays me $37.50 in cash! I could've had $75 in store credit, but this is more about downsizing my closet, so I don't need credit. $3.10
2:10 p.m. — On my way home, I check my Presto card balance and add $60. Why do I only add money to the card in $60 instalments? I have no idea. $60
2:30 p.m. — Puppers is sleepy but happy I'm home. We walk to the pet store for dog treats. I buy a big bag of regular Benny Bully's, and a small bag of pumpkin Benny Bully's. Even the pet food industry cashes in on PSL season! $38.40

3:15 p.m. — When we get back, I set up to paint my nails. I never wear makeup, but I like doing my nails. I'm finally opening the box of Holo Taco I pre-ordered a month or so ago. The brand is from a Canadian YouTuber, Simply Nailogical, and she's one of those people I could totally be friends with in real life. I do two coats of Royal-Tea Blue topped with Flakie Holo Taco, all while watching Mindhunter.
4 p.m. — I should do job application stuff, but maybe I'll just have a 20-minute catnap first.
5 p.m. — Well, that wasn't a catnap. I'm so sleepy I feel drunk, but I need to walk and feed the dog, because I have somewhere to be tonight.
5:40 p.m. — I head out on the subway to meet a friend at a cider festival. I bought my ticket for this more than a month ago, but I buy more tokens to try all the ciders. $20
9 p.m. — I haven't been this drunk in a long time. I tell my friend this loudly. We repeat it to each other sporadically for the rest of the night. MORE TOKENS. Dinner is from a tater tot food truck, and I use six tokens on Loaded Baked Po-Taters. This is for the best, so I don't drink all my tokens away. $10
10 p.m. — I drunk-text a guy.
11 p.m. — Everyone is shooed out of the cider festival.
12 a.m. — I get home via transit. I think my dog is judging me. I drunk-text the guy a photo of my dog judging me. I take doggo for a walk, drink two glasses of water, and collapse into bed.
Daily Total: $139.59

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Dog wants to go out. I zombie through our short morning route. When we get home, he gets kibble, and I get a Tylenol and a water before falling back into bed.
9:30 a.m. — This is a much better time to be awake. I make a peanut butter and banana smoothie.
12 p.m. — Time for a longer walk. As we're walking through the park, I have a sudden flashback to last night at midnight when he pooped, and I didn't pick it up. Sorry, park friends. I know being drunk isn't an excuse, but I probably wasn't coordinated enough at that point to attempt it. When we get in, I microwave two frozen cornmeal muffins I made a few months ago.
1 p.m. — I drive to a DoorDash orientation session and pay for parking ($6). I don't want to be a Dasher, but I signed up through Swagbucks, and if I do my first “dash” in the next 30 days, I get $150 from Swagbucks, which I can put towards an Amazon gift card to buy things like dog poop bags and books. $6
2 p.m. — Orientation done (basically, don't be a jerk), I go for groceries. I know I'm trying to eat from my pantry for the next week, but I'm out of almond milk, and I made this morning's smoothie with water, which was was NOT tasty. I go to NoFrills and buy Silk Unsweetened Original Almond milk, baby spinach, naan bread, Maltesers, paper towels, toothpaste, body wash, and a bar of soap. $42.18
3 p.m. — Job applications or nap? Nap.
5 p.m. — On our pre-dinner dog walk, we run into dog friends and sit outside for a bit.
5:30 p.m. — Dinner menu: half a cup of kibble for him; skillet gnocchi, eggs, and cheese, with an episode of Scandal for me.
7:30 p.m. — I finally buckle down and fill in the job application. It's one of those detailed forms with very specific questions, so I try to hit all the keywords I can with my experience. When I'm done, I'm on a roll so I apply for another job. This form has a dropdown menu to answer the question “What gets you out of bed in the morning?” I feel that I should pick “Ability to make an impact” but really I mean “Money.” I end up choosing “Work-life balance."
10 p.m. — Dog walk, brush teeth, bed time.
Daily Total: $48.18

Day Six

6:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I press snooze and check email and Instagram until the alarm goes off again. Then it's doggy walk time. He will poop when he wants to poop, and there's nothing I can do about it, so I walk him first thing for as long as it takes and figure out my morning routine based on that. Basically, his poops dictate how leisurely my shower and breakfast will be.
7:45 a.m. — Peanut butter and banana smoothie! I also make protein bites out of protein powder, almond flour, almond butter, vanilla, and coconut. I should have made those yesterday, but I manage to get them done in time. I leave for work with my lunch, my mug (I won't forget you again, buddy!), and my gym clothes.
12 p.m. — I'm so hungry for lunch, which is hummus and pita, followed by a protein ball. I eat at my desk and read The Farm by Joanne Ramos, which is much better than the last book.
5:15 p.m. — Another cardio class. I'm working as hard as I can, but I feel like I can't move my limbs at the same pace other people. Is it coordination? Fast-twitch muscles?
6:30 p.m. — I get home, go up the stairs to get doggo, and we go walkies.
7 p.m. — Time for the true test of eating from the pantry/fridge. I have leftover rice and random veggies, so I do fried rice-ish: scrambled eggs with ricotta cheese, onion and garlic, a cup of leftover rice, grated carrot, the only two non-squishy tomatoes, and the last of the pesto. Fried rice, but make it Italian. It looks like three servings, so I'm good till Wednesday. End of the month is Saturday, but I've still got things in the freezer. I watch an episode of Mindhunter while I eat.
8:30 p.m. — I email my old manager about the job I'm not quite qualified for. After, I browse The Bay's website for cute, work-appropriate dresses. They need to have sleeves, because no matter how wide the straps are on sleeveless dress, my bra straps always escape. I don't buy anything and eventually end up searching for dog Halloween costumes on Amazon.
10 p.m. — I walk the dog around the neighbourhood, brush my teeth, and go to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:50 a.m. — My alarm is beeping, and the dog is snoring. Why is he sleepy on weekdays, and awake on weekends?
7 a.m. — Dog walk, dog breakfast, shower, clothes, human breakfast (smoothie), mug, lunch, gym clothes, go.
12 p.m. — Lunch at my desk: More hummus, naan instead of pita, homemade protein ball. I've always loved reading while eating. Sometimes, when I was a kid, the whole family would eat dinner together... but reading.
1 p.m. — Etsy money hits my account: $35.81!
5:15 p.m. — Strength class at the gym. I'm so happy I'm still going to these and haven't ghosted.
6:30 p.m. — The neighbourhood dog gang is in the park, so we hang out with them.
7:30 p.m. — I heat up my everything-in-the-fridge fried rice. It's not bad, but I should've squeezed the moisture out of the grated carrot. Things are getting mushy. I eat, watch an episode of Scandal, and try not to think about the fact there's no dessert in the house.
9 p.m. — I buy 50 padded envelopes from Amazon for shipping my Etsy parcels. $34.41
Daily Total: $34.41
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