A Week In Toronto, ON, On An $80,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Attention, Canadians! We'll be featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.
Today: a marketing manager working in finance who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on take-out salad.
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Industry: Finance
Age: 27
Location: Toronto
Salary: $80,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,391.31
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $927 (for one bedroom in a three-bedroom apartment)
Student Loans: $330.21
Netflix & iTunes: $0 (My parents pay for a family plan.)
ClassPass: $16.95 (I'm not paying for class credits currently.)
New York Magazine Subscription: $6.75
Savings: $300–$500 (I need to be smarter with saving. I don't spend on major things, but my little habits definitely add up.)

Day One

6:45 a.m. — I wake up extra-early today to get into the office for an 8 a.m. call. I treat myself to a breakfast cookie from my favourite cold-pressed juice bar. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan but so delicious and satisfying without causing a sugar crash. $3.35
8:45 a.m. — Call is done. The coffee maker in the office isn't working, and I'm too lazy to fix it myself. It's also pouring rain, and the nearest decent coffee shop is a five-minute walk. I'm desperate for caffeine, so I run to Tim Hortons for a medium coffee. $1.85
12:30 p.m. — It's still POURING RAIN, but my stomach starts rumbling, so I brave it. I run to the closest sushi spot for a spicy salmon roll and a spicy tuna roll. $14.64
12:40 p.m. — I wander to an indoor produce market to pick out an afternoon snack and end up with a peach. $0.97
5:30 p.m. — My walk home is about 45 minutes. I usually plug into a podcast or call my mom, sister, or best friend. Today, the post-rain-mugginess is making my hair expand by the second, and I'm meeting a friend so I jump on the bus (using my pre-paid Presto card) to get there faster, frizz-free.
6:15 p.m. — My friend, A., brought her five-month-old puppy, so we order salads to-go and sit in the nearby park. This salad place is known for being pricey, and I go back and forth between adding chicken for an extra $4.25. I do because I NEED PROTEIN! $19.78
8:45 p.m. — I'm home, showered, and ready to tuck in for the night until my boyfriend R. messages me to come over. I saw him the past five nights but I miss him (gross) and my lower back is super-tight, and he promised to give me a massage (double gross). He offers to pay for my Uber, but I have a $5 credit, so I say it's on me. He can pay me in a massage. $4.35
Daily Total: $44.94

Day Two

7:40 a.m. — I snooze hard today and give myself only 15 minutes to get out the door. When I'm at my boyfriend's, my clothing options are limited, so I can be ready quickly. I wish I were one of those people who pre-planned her outfits the night before or had a uniform closet that's just basics that mix and match. I fill up my water bottle and walk 30 minutes from his place to my office.
8:15 a.m. — En route, I stop at my favourite coffee shop and order an iced Americano. $3.68
8:30 a.m. — I'm in the office and give myself time to drink my coffee, catch up on news, and gradually move into my inbox while I have a Clif Bar.
11 a.m. — My friend messages me about a new boxing studio near her apartment that offers two-for-one classes. I'm down to try it. $28.23
12:15 p.m. — Today, lunch is brought into the office, and it's tacos. I've never seen everyone so smiley at once. I make two and go back for a third.
5:10 p.m. — I pack up because I'm going to a concert tonight. I jump on the subway (Presto card again) to get to my boyfriend's and quickly change into my new yellow linen jumpsuit, then head to my friend's place.
5:45 p.m. — I realize I'm hungry again and don't want to get food at the concert venue later. I order a salad through Ritual and pick it up on the way to my friend's place. Sometimes I feel like my life is a parade of expensive salads. $14.63
7 p.m. — We call an Uber to the concert venue. My one friend is tight on cash right now so she suggests we take transit. My other friend and I offer to Uber us, our treat. We split the cost. $7.19
8 p.m. — We arrive as the first act, Flo Rida, is playing (don't judge me). I'm mostly here for TLC and Nelly, who are also on this tour. My friends and I impulse-bought these tickets six months ago through Groupon for $30, and we are so happy we did. I'm not drinking on weeknights due to unpredictable hangovers, so I grab a bottle of water. THE WATER IS $5. And then the machine prompts a tip. I feel like a jerk not tipping, so I do 15%. $5.75
10:30 p.m. — We call an Uber home. My friend is going the farthest and says not to worry about paying. I fight her, but she reminds me she owes me for an Uber last week, so I let it go.
Daily Total: $59.48

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — R. has a 7:30 a.m. meeting so he's up. His alarm wakes me, and I wonder if I should wake up and take an extra-long walk to work this morning. Shockingly, I snooze.
7:45 a.m. — I'm up and out the door in 20 minutes. I throw on an oversized, black, blouse-type dress and leather mules. All black is always safe. I grab my favourite iced Americano. $3.68
8:20 a.m. — I arrive at work while finishing an episode of Pia Baroncini's podcast, Almost 30. I grab a Clif bar and sit at my desk, still plugged in.
12:15 p.m. — ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER OVERPRICED SALAD FOR LUNCH. I go to my favourite make-your-own salad shop. I tell myself I'm going to start meal prepping. $13.88
1:40 p.m. — Scrolling on Facebook, I see a friend share a GoFundMe to contribute to funeral arrangements for a victim of the domestic terror attack in El Paso. I donate $10 USD, which isn't much, I know. I see so many of these fundraising pages now and if I can contribute anything it can help. It's only since I started making more money that I started doing this. I try to do five or six donations a month. $15.72
3:45 p.m. — I grab a well-balanced snack from the kitchen: Coke Zero and a banana.
5 p.m. — I'm still waiting on something from our creative team, but need to leave in 15 minutes to make my therapist appointment. I'm anxiously tapping my finger. The TTC will take 25 minutes to get there, so I have some time.
5:40 p.m. — I'm a Virgo, so punctuality is in my DNA. I have my intern organize assets, and I'll log on later tonight to complete the task. I missed my public transport window, so I have to call an Uber and arrive right on time thanks to my driver's expert downtown traffic navigation. $10.63
6:45 p.m. — I have a great session. I have anxiety issues that result in headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, all that fun stuff. Things like punctuality and work deadlines trigger it, and I'm trying to be more in control. My therapist was off for the month, so this was my first session in four weeks. I e-transfer her the payment. My insurance plan with work only covers $500 of psychotherapy, which ran out after the first five sessions. In order to afford it, I go every two weeks instead of every week. I walk home. $120
7:30 p.m. — I have a dinner date with my best friend (who I live with), but we've been so busy lately that we haven't seen each other. We Uber to get cheap and delicious sushi and, luckily, we both have a $4-off promo. $3.21
9:30 p.m. — I love sushi and I love my best friend. We split the bill and leave for our boyfriends' apartments. $28.27
9:45 p.m. — It's such a nice night, so I meet my boyfriend in the park near his apartment to hang out. We head home soon because he Airbnbs his second bedroom and has a guest from France checking in tonight. We make sure everything is tidy.
10:15 p.m. — I check my email for the first time all night, and see that creative has sent me what I needed. We're hosting a work event next week and plan to brand it quite excessively. I place an order for all the company swag. It will be expensed, but the idea of carrying this total on my credit card has me slightly sweaty. $640.12 (expensed)
11 p.m. — Our new French roomie is checked in and so friendly! We get to meet the most interesting people through this set-up, and it covers half his rent. All works out.
Daily Total: $195.39

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Morning, wake up, blah, blah, blah. Fill up my water bottle, plug into a podcast and start my walk.
8:20 a.m. — It's Friday! I grab a breakfast cookie and a green juice. Because the juice and cookie feel like a pricey start, I make coffee in the office. $10.12
12 p.m. — My office is quiet today, and I manage to send out more emails than my goal so I treat myself to a manicure. I'm starting to feel a headache come on, so I think it'll help me relax while I keep an eye on my emails. There's a place near my office that offers a 30-minute shellac manicure for about $30. I tip on top of that. $38.40
12:35 p.m. — I'm feeling very anxious for some reason. Maybe from catching up with my therapist last night? I've had a killer headache all day, and my neck has been super-tight. I call my boyfriend and explain. He tells me to go home for the afternoon, but I feel guilty for having just gotten my nails done. Embarrassingly, I start crying on the street as I'm talking to him. I want to finish the day at work, so I grab a slice of pizza and sit at a nearby park and breathe. $6.20
1:30 p.m. — I'm swamped with work, and I think the distraction is helpful because I feel better. I'm not sure what that wave of anxiety was about, but I think I talked myself down. My head still hurts, so I take an Advil and plug into a neo-soul playlist as I finish work.
5 p.m. — I grab a bottle of biodynamic wine for a friend's housewarming. It's on sale for $12.30. Yay! I stop by a flower market for a bouquet of eucalyptus and baby's breath ($12.12), which is my favourite house-warming treat. It smells great and last weeks and weeks. $24.42
5:35 p.m. — I jump on the streetcar and head to my friend's house. As I'm on my way, my sister, M., who is flying in from Montreal shortly, texts me and asks if I can grab her a bottle of wine. She requests a specific one and says she'll pay me back. I probably won't ask her to. She's younger and just started her first job after school, so she's making a lot less than I am. $14.24
7 p.m. — My friend makes a delicious dinner of meats, cheeses, pastas, and veggies.
1 a.m. — Dance party, girl talks, multiple bottles of wine later, plus a few tequila shots, and the housewarming is complete. I Uber home, with a $4-promo applied. $8.24
1:30 a.m. — I realize as I'm falling asleep that I left my expensive green juice in the fridge at work. It expires tomorrow, Saturday. Damn it.
Daily Total: $101.62

Day Five

10:30 a.m. — I sleep in! It's Saturday! M. is in town because we have a wedding later this afternoon, so I wake up with her in my bed. She heads to a hair appointment, and I get a smoothie from the juice bar around the corner. $9.40
11:15 a.m. — I need to grab a card for the wedding, so I stop by a gift store. These cards are beautiful but, holy shit, are they expensive. I grab one that is pretty but not in the double digits. $6.44
12 p.m. — On Facebook, I see an old friend post about a birthday fundraiser with proceeds going to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She posts openly about her mental health issues, which I find inspiring, and it's an organization I'm passionate about. I donate. $20
1 p.m. — I'm showered, face mask on, and start straightening my hair for the wedding. I put on an episode of The Handmaid's Tale while I make scrambled eggs on half a bagel with avocado, feta, and salt and pepper.
3 p.m. — I write the wedding card and slot in $250 from my boyfriend and me. We have a rule where he pays for his friends, and I pay for mine. For both of our friends, we split it. If it's a best friend, we'll give more. For my group of friends, weddings only started last year, so we're still getting the hang of gifts. $250
3:30 p.m. — My boyfriend picks us up in an Uber, and we're off to the wedding. It's a 35-minute drive outside the city in a picturesque town. I think it comes out to about $50 but R. pays.
4:30 p.m. — The ceremony: These are friends of mine from high school — and they're high-school sweethearts. They're so in love and have always been so happy together. There are tears.
6:30 p.m. — The bar is open. Someone comes by with tequila shots before we sit down for dinner and speeches.
1 a.m. — That might be the most fun I've ever had at a wedding, with so many old friends and the best music (R. personally thanked the DJ after). I don't think I sat down once. I call an Uber back to my parents' house in the suburbs to stay there for the night, about a 20-minute drive. I pay this time. $23.40
Daily Total: $309.24

Day Six

10 a.m. — I'm feeling rough. One too many tequila shots last night. I pop an Advil and chug some water.
10:30 a.m. — My boyfriend and sister are up now, too. We're watching TV with my family and dog. My mom makes us all coffees. I'm still not hungry.
11:30 a.m. — M. wants to hit up the local Value Village. Suburban thrift stores are the best. They have a ton of great items that are harder to find in the city. But let me tell you, hungover Value Village is not the fun Value Village.
12 p.m. — M. takes a cart and hits the clothes section, while I head to books and home decor. I find a business book my boss claims is his favourite; I've been meaning to pick it up for months. My boyfriend finds a hardcover New York Times cartoon coffee table book. I Google the value of the book: $60.
12:35 p.m. — M. killed it in the clothes department: a pantsuit, tops, shoes and a bag. I killed it with my books: $5.99 each, baby! $13.77
1 p.m. — We pick up groceries to make lunch at my parents' house. R. grabs me water and Gatorade (bless him). After chugging both, I'm feeling like a human again and my appetite is back. I'm getting too old for this. We grab eggs, smoked salmon, prosciutto, bread, and strawberries. We have bagels at home, and I'm going to make a breakfast sandwich. R. pays.
2 p.m. — R. and I make lunch for the family. R. earns major points.
4 p.m. — My grandparents invite us over before we take off to the city. I snack on leftovers and cookies at their house. I'm now at the point in the hangover in which I become a bottomless pit.
6 p.m. — We drive my sister to the airport. She has a flight at 7:50 p.m., and it's domestic, so she only needs to be there about 40 minutes early.
6:30 p.m. — As we get to the airport, we find out her flight is delayed by an hour. I suggest grabbing food again (because bottomless pit), so my mom, sister, boyfriend, and I get sushi nearby. My mom pays.
7:30 p.m. — I suggest ice cream because give me one damn good reason we should not get ice cream! There's a gelato shop next door, so we each get a kiddie scoop. I treat. $16.40
8:15 p.m. — We hug my sister goodbye. She's my best friend, so I'm always sad when she leaves. I visit Montreal monthly, or she'll come here, and we talk every day. It still sucks sometimes, though. My mom drives us back to my place.
9:30 p.m. — We're in bed and exhausted. I think we pass out by 10:15 p.m.
Daily Total: $30.17

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Hello, Monday. I wake up with crazy back pain, but know we have out-of-town team members in the office this week, so I need to go in.
7:30 a.m. — It hurts to stand up. Am I dehydrated? Did I pull a muscle from dancing so hard Saturday? Am I still hungover? Is it stress again? I don't know, but I stretch, pop an Advil, and call an Uber to work. I can't walk the 45 minutes or take the bus with this pain. $11.12
8:15 a.m. — I arrive at work, make a coffee, and have a Clif bar.
9 a.m. — Sitting at my desk is only making my back worse. I find out that the out-of-towners are coming in tomorrow, so I tell my boss I'm going to work from home. She's very understanding and says it's no problem. I need to be back online for a meeting at 10 a.m., so I call an Uber. $11.50
12 p.m. — I'm home, so I make eggs on half a bagel with avocado. I have been chugging water all day, hoping that'll make me feel better. I'm still in pain.
5:15 p.m. — I applied a hot pad to my back throughout the day, so it's feeling much better. I'm in the process of finding a new family doctor and need to refill my birth control prescription. To get it, I have to go to a walk-in clinic and I may as well go tonight because it's nearby and maybe I can talk about my back/neck/shoulder pain while I'm there. I jump on the bus for a five-minute ride.
6:30 p.m. — I get my prescription. The doctor tells me to talk to a family doctor about my back/neck/shoulder pain and says that it's not fair to other patients for me to come to a walk-in with more than one issue. I get where he's coming from, but his tone is so rude. I'm not sure what I was even expecting he would tell me — my back is feeling better — but to be so dismissive of a patient leaves a terrible impression. I explain I've been looking for a family doctor for over a year, but it's hard to find one. He's such a jerk. I hop on the bus and call my mom to rant about Dr. McJerk.
7 p.m. — I'm on bagel number two today, this time with cream cheese. I'm way too tired and lazy to make anything else and still feeling annoyed that I spent so much money on Ubers this morning. It feels like such a throwaway.
9 p.m. — I'm in bed. Showered, with a face mask, watching The Handmaid's Tale. I don't know why I watch it before bed, because it always gives me nightmares but it's so damn good.
10:30 p.m. — Face mask off, teeth brushed, in bed. My back is still okay (the hot shower helped as well), and I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep. I text my family and boyfriend I love them and good night.
Daily Total: $22.62
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please contact Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566.
Thanks to KOHO, you can now experience Money Diaries IRL at 29Rooms in Toronto this September 26 through October 6. Buy tickets here.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend. Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here. For more money diaries, click here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here:

More from Work & Money