A Week In Northern Canada On A $70,000 Salary

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Today: a legal assistant who makes $70,000 and spends some of her money this week on a mask that holds sheet masks in place.
Occupation: Legal Assistant
Industry: Law
Age: 40
Location: Northern Canada
Salary: $70,000 ($68,000, plus a $2,000 annual bonus)
Net Worth: $41,962
Debt: $6,600 (line of credit)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,753.99
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,112 (This is for my half. My husband, Z., and I each deposit $650 per paycheque into our joint account to cover the mortgage and quarterly bills from the city, like garbage collection, water, etc.)
Line Of Credit: $300
Car & House Insurance: $62.25 
Health Benefits: $117.33 (deducted from my paycheque)
Dental Benefits: $34.73 (deducted from my paycheque)
Disability Insurance: $19.01 (deducted from my paycheque)
Pension: $225 (deducted from my paycheque)
Recycling Collection: $21
Internet: $122 (I pay for the internet because my husband pays for the electricity.)
Hydro: $0 (My husband pays for it.)
Phone: $108.78
Website: $5.79
Netflix: $0 (My husband pays for it.)
Amazon Prime: $8.39
Crave: $10.49
TFSA: $100
Popcorn Box Subscription: $37
Quarterly Expenses
Water, Sewage & Garbage & Compost Collection: $225 (for my half)

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?
There was no question that I would be going to university. I got an annual grant of $5,000, plus bursaries, and I worked two jobs every summer to save money. In my last year, I got a student loan of $10,000, which is paid off.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We always had enough food to eat, but we wore second-hand clothes and didn't have a lot of toys. My mom impressed upon me the importance of financial independence for women. That's the reason my husband and I don't combine our finances apart from our joint account, which is only used for mortgage payments and city bills.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting at 11 and got a job at the local video store when I was 16. I took it so I would have spending money to buy clothes.

Do you worry about money?
Yes, but much less than I did when I was younger. For the first time in my life, I have a permanent position with good benefits and a pension. That makes me feel more secure.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I was 18 and went to university. I didn't have a financial safety net, but I knew that my parents would never let me go hungry or miss a rent payment. I didn't take advantage of that.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received $1,000 in my 20s when my grandmother died. I used half that money to buy a computer and put the rest in savings.

Day One

9:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling tired and run down. We arrived home from a vacation last night. We had a great week in my hometown, visiting with family, and enjoying slow mornings of drinking coffee and watching The Food Network (we don't have cable, so this was a treat). But I'm always tired after a holiday. I make my way downstairs, kiss Z., and give our two cats a cuddle. They were so happy to see us when we got home yesterday. We had a house sitter, but it's the first time we've left them. We make drip coffee, and I have mine with oat milk.
11 a.m. — We're both feeling tired and lazy, so we order a pepperoni pizza and hot wings from Pizza Hut. I pay with my credit card and tip 15%. $41.54
11:45 a.m. — The pizza arrives, and we spend the day watching 47 Metres Down and The Invisible Guardian, which is based on the first book in the Baztan mystery trilogy, which I'm reading right now.
5 p.m. — I can't believe I haven't showered yet. I go upstairs to clean up and do my skin-care routine. I was overzealous with vitamin C a few weeks ago and ended up with what felt like a bad sunburn, so I'm giving my skin a break and focusing on hydration using a Kiehl's moisturizer.
5:30 p.m. — I finish off the pizza and spend the evening watching The Meg. It's so bad. I love it.
10:30 p.m. — I'm back to work tomorrow, so it's time for bed. I've struggled with anxiety and insomnia my entire life, so I religiously go to bed at the same time every night on work nights.
Daily Total: $41.54

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — My first alarm goes off, and I actually get up right away! I make my way downstairs and say good morning to my little family. I get my coffee and scroll Instagram.
8:30 a.m. — It's time to get to work, and I have a ton of emails.
12 p.m. — I get an email about a Sephora sale and, like a fool, start browsing. I order a mask to hold a sheet mask in place, a Sephora brand lip scrub, and a Sephora brand brush. $30.40
12:15 p.m. — I go upstairs to exercise. I'm a reluctant exerciser at best, but since turning 40, I've become more aware of looking after myself, and I try to workout six days a week. I do an indoor 1,000 steps workout, follow that with a 10-minute abs circuit, and hop in the shower (lunchtime showers are my favourite part of working from home). I'm not feeling getting dressed today, so it's leggings and a long sweater.
1:15 p.m. — I get through the rest of my emails and catch up on projects that were neglected during my vacation.
5 p.m. — I power down my computer for the day and chat with Z. We can't stop talking about how great our vacation was and how nice it was not to worry about work — neither one of us checked our emails.
6 p.m. — Z. makes a delicious pork noodle soup with kale. We vow to take more time off together, but we both know it won't happen because of work. I do the dinner dishes and scoop the cat litter. Z. and I take turns doing the cat chores: Z. takes the morning shift, and I take the evening. Then I head into the living room to watch an episode of Dark, which I'm obsessed with.
8 p.m. — I really want a snack, but I resist.
8:15 p.m. — I make popcorn on the stove and top it with salt, nutritional yeast, and hot sauce.
10:30 p.m. — After another episode of Dark, I wash my face with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and use my Kiehl's moisturizer.
Daily Total: $30.40

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — My first alarm goes off, but getting up is not happening. It took me ages to fall asleep last night. Snooze.
8 a.m. — My second alarm goes off. No thanks. Snooze.
8:15 a.m. — My third and final alarm goes off. Blargh. I check my work email on my phone and send a response to a colleague who has confirmed that he'll be working on the days I want off at the end of the month. Yay! A good friend is coming to stay with Z. and I for a week, and I can't wait.
8:25 a.m. — I finally roll out of bed. I kiss Z. good morning and give both of our cats a snuggle. They're not interested. Ingrates.
9:30 a.m. — While I'm catching up on emails, Z. comes downstairs and offers to make me oats with wild blueberries and a scoop of almond butter (I'm obsessed).
11:15 a.m. — It's time for my weekly team Skype meeting. It goes on for a fearsomely long time.
12:20 p.m. — I browse Refinery29 and learn that I should indeed be changing my undies everyday. Who doesn't change their unders every day? Well, let's be honest: I haven't really worn underwear since lockdown started. I head upstairs for my workout and shower. I try a 10-minute barre video, which I enjoy but am far too uncoordinated to follow. Then I do an intense eight-minute abs workout! Side planks are the devil's work. I have a body shower and apply Caudalíe Beauty Elixir, Pacifica hydrating serum, and more Kiehl's moisturizer.
1:30 p.m. — I eat leftover pork and rice noodle soup while I check email and crack on with a few projects. Z. heads out to pick up sausages, potatoes, bread, and bagels. He also buys beers at the local brewery on his way home.
5 p.m. — Quitting time! I clean the two upstairs bathrooms and throw in a load of laundry. I'm taking an online paralegal certificate program, but I'm currently on a break between semesters, and I'm not used to having so much free time!
5:45 p.m. — I go upstairs to change from my daytime loungewear into my nighttime loungewear. The cats are snuggled up together on my bed, and they're adorable. I join them before calling my mom for a good old natter. My dad died a decade ago, and my mom is elderly, so I try to call her as much as I can.
7 p.m. — We're having breakfast for dinner. Z. has made sausages, potato latkes, and fried eggs. They're delicious! We eat while talking about the news, joking around, and listening to As It Happens on CBC. After dinner, I do the dishes, deal with the kitty litter, and watch one episode of Never Have I Ever and two episodes of Dark.
10:30 p.m. — I slap on a Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask and slide into bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8:26 a.m. — I force myself out of bed after hitting the snooze button twice. The cats are bug hunting on the window sill in my bedroom. I give them both a good morning scratch, then kiss Z., and grab a coffee.
10:45 a.m. — Work is busy, but I'm super-hungry, so I take 15 minutes to heat up leftover latkes and have half a sausage from last night. I read a few pages of 1491 by Charles Mann while I eat. This book is so interesting! It's about what the Americas were like before Columbus. The civilizations were much vaster and more sophisticated than previously thought, with huge cities that were completely devastated by disease and battles after contact. I highly recommend reading it.
11:45 a.m. — It's not raining for the first time in 10 days, so I throw on my favourite Lululemon leggings, a sports bra, and a Nike top to go for a run. Both my leggings and top are second-hand. About a year ago, I committed to shopping ethically and sustainably as much as possible. I thrift the majority of my clothes, and I love shopping this way. I was at a mall a while ago, and I couldn't even bring myself to go into any of the stores. I hate looking at a rack with 10 of the same thing on it.
12 p.m. — I do a 4.1–kilometre run and, even though it's late in the season, I keep a sharp eye out for bears while running on the trail that goes through the bush. I take a few walking breaks and a stop to pick a handful of raspberries, but I'm okay with that, because it's been a while since my last run.
12:40 p.m. — At home, I take a quick shower. Ugh, it's wash day for my hair. I have curly hair, so I loosely follow the Curly Girl Method, which is about avoiding sulphates and heat and only washing with conditioner. My hair is too fine to go without shampoo, though, so I use a sulphate-free moisturizing one from the Shea Moisture line. I follow it with a ton of conditioner, comb my hair and rinse, then flip my head over, cup my hands to catch the water, and squish it into my curls. After that, I apply Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Primer and Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream, which I love. I use a microfibre towel, then air dry. My hair dries crunchy, but I scrunch the curls until they're soft. Following this method is a bit of a process, but it drastically cuts down on frizz!
1 p.m. — I actually get dressed today! I pair my Encircled Dressy Sweatpants with a striped tank top and finish off the outfit with a pair of Sam Edelman sandals I got at a consignment store. I put on Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer, Charlotte Tilbury blush, CoverGirl mascara, and Glow Recipe Lip Pop. I'm back at work by 1 p.m.
5 p.m. — I grab my jean jacket and go to the grocery store for broccoli, a lemon, provolone, Camembert, dry salami, anchovies, oat milk, a bag of my favourite locally made popcorn, cream cheese, a loaf of pumpernickel, San Pellegrino sparkling water, Lady Grey tea, Dairy Milk Buttons, toilet paper, and paper towels. $87.43
6 p.m. — I write a beauty and ethical fashion blog, and I like my outfit today, so I throw on a pair of earrings a local artist gave me in exchange for a post and ask Z. to take photos.
6:30 p.m. — I post a photo on my Instagram account, where I review skincare and makeup. I started it to generate traffic for my blog but ended up loving the community and making great online friends. While Z. cooks, I read more of 1491. He does almost all of the cooking, because I'm a mediocre chef, and he loves doing it. I'm always encouraging him to apply for MasterChef Canada, but he's a slow cook and probably couldn't keep within the time limits. I've promised him that we'll practise, by which I mean I will time him while drinking wine and supervising.
7 p.m. — We have a yummy dinner of broccoli and melted provolone on pumpernickel bread. After getting sucked into watching an influencer's Nordstrom sale haul, I watch another episode of Dark while snuggling with our male cat, T. Both of our cats are rescues, and T. came to us when he was about eight months old. He was abandoned at a local hotel and had obviously been hit by someone. He runs under the couch whenever there's a loud noise and cowers if you raise a hand, but he's improved so much since being with us, which makes me happy.
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime! Z. and I both snore and have problems sleeping, so we sometimes sleep in separate beds. Tonight, we head up together at the same time for once.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — I'm actually up before my alarm goes off! I say good morning to everyone, sip my coffee alongside a toasted sesame bagel with herbed cream cheese, and read 1491 until 8:30 a.m., when it's time to dive into work.
12:30 p.m. — I do an intense 12-minute abs workout and stomach vacuums and decide that's enough. I hop into the shower, then apply Milk Makeup Cooling Water under my eyes and Pacifica serum, followed by three drops of Volition Beauty Hibiscus Unspottable Correcting Oil, my jade roller, and Erborian Matte Lotion. I'm overwhelmed by all the skin-care products that have been sent to me in exchange for Instagram or blog posts, and I've put a hold on accepting more while I'm working through what I've got. It's cold and grey today, so I dress in lounge pants and a turtleneck sweater.
2:30 p.m. — I take 15 minutes to make lunch. I have water crackers, salami, and Camembert (so good!) and read a few more pages of 1491.
3:30 p.m. — I'm briefly sidetracked by a notification on my phone that the Citizens of Humanity jeans I've been hunting for on eBay are available in my size. I'm sorely tempted, but I remind myself that I don't actually wear jeans that often anymore, and that they would be well over $100 with shipping and the exchange rate.
5 p.m. — Quitting time! I make myself a small gin and tonic, and we hang out and chat while Z. gets started on a simple green salad with homemade croutons, roast chicken, and a lemony dressing. After doing the dishes and scooping the cat litter, I watch two more episodes of Dark while throwing toys for the cats to chase.
8 p.m. — I start snacking on Chicago-style kettle corn and end up eating the whole bag before going to bed at 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — I drag myself out of bed. I wish I could be one of those morning people who gets up at 5 a.m., does yoga, eats a healthy breakfast, and writes down intentions for the day, but it'll never happen. Does anyone actually do that? I sit down to work at 8:30 a.m. and discover that it's Friday! I thought it was Thursday, so I'm pleasantly surprised. Monday is a holiday as well, so it's a long weekend!
10 a.m. — Z. comes downstairs and makes oatmeal for both of us. I have mine with blueberries and oat milk.
11:15 a.m. — Time for our second weekly team Skype meeting. There are only four of us on the call today, so we spend most of the meeting discussing the current COVID-19 situation. Z. heads downtown to pick up groceries. He takes my debit card, because I ask him to get me a bottle of white wine, and he buys steak to grind for burgers, eggs, cream, bread, flour, and butter, plus my wine. He puts it all on my card. $48.90
1 p.m. — I text my friend to go for a socially distanced four-kilometre run. We have a lot of laughs. We should do this more often.
12:35 p.m. — I feel invigorated from my run. I have a shower, and it's wash day for my accursed curls again, so it's a long one. I've always hated my curly hair, but I'm trying to embrace it. It's a slow process. I do the same skin-care routine as yesterday, although today I chance a drop of Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Serum. It's a good day for my romper from Smash + Tess, an ethical Canadian company that I love. So much so, I gave my mother and sister each a romper for Christmas. By 2 p.m., I'm back at work with a plate of water crackers, salami, and Camembert.
5 p.m. — Is there any better time than Friday at 5 p.m.? I don't think so. Friday is at-home date night, so I go into my closet and instantly get a boost. It's a walk-in, my first one ever, and I love it. It's so organized. I put on my new-to-me coated jeans, an orange striped shirt with a twist in the front, and my Sam Edelman sandals. I spritz on Replica Beach Walk by Maison Margiela and finish off the look with bronzer, blush, and mascara, plus a fuchsia Charlotte Tilbury lipstick.
5:15 p.m. — I pour myself a glass of wine because TGIF. Z. and I hang out while he makes homemade burgers and oven fries. I love our Friday nights. Even though we live together, we don't spend as much quality time as we'd like. We chat about anything and everything, have a few drinks, and listen to music.
9:45 p.m. — I'm zonked. I'm always ready to party until 9 p.m.! I crawl into bed after splashing water on my face. I'm out like a light!
Daily Total: $48.90

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — I crawl out of bed and open the curtains. It's another grey, rainy day. I head downstairs, kiss everyone good morning, and curl up on the couch with 1491 and a coffee. Z. is in the kitchen watching YouTube videos and reading the news.
11 a.m. — I get off the couch to grab a coffee refill and a bagel and cream cheese. The cats are chasing each other around the kitchen and living room, and it's so funny watching them.
12 p.m. — I don't feel like doing anything and neither does Z., so we spend the afternoon lying in bed with the cats and watching movies on my laptop: The Legacy of the Bones and Offering to the Storm, parts two and three of the Baztan Trilogy. So, so good!
4 p.m. — Z. goes to the store for cat food and sees a black bear on the way!
5 p.m. — We order Pizza Hut pizza and wings for dinner, and I pay. We eat way too much and spend the evening snuggled up in bed watching Fractured, which is creepy, then Jurassic World. I'm obsessed with the Jurassic Park movies. I make plans for us to have a friend and her partner over for dinner tomorrow night. $55.92
11 p.m. — We can't keep our eyes open any longer, so I wash my face with a Body Shop aloe cleanser, slap on Kiehl's moisturizer, then it's lights out.
Daily Total: $55.92
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