A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $76,000 Salary

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Today: a marketing manager working in financial services who makes $76,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Negroni.
Editor's note: This Money Diary was written before coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Go to the Public Health Agency of Canada website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.

Occupation: Marketing Manager
Industry: Financial Services
Age: 26
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $76,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,944
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200 (This is for my half of a walk-up I share with a roommate, R., and their dog. It also covers utilities and Netflix.)
Student Loans: $0 (I have amazing parents who paid for my undergrad degree.)
Personal Phone: $28.25 (I also have a work phone with a hefty plan paid for by my company.)
Transit Pass: $156
Benefits: $60 (This is an estimated number. I'm not sure what I'm paying every month, but benefits are so worth it!)
Charitable Donation: $12.50 (This goes to the University Health Network.)
Spotify: $6.50 (I share Spotify Premium Duo with a friend.)
RRSP: $150 (This deducted from my paycheque and matched by my company).
Savings: $1,800 (I'm saving for a down payment on a condo.)

Annual Expenses
Gym & Running Club: $1,300
Credit Card Fee: $60

Day One

9:15 a.m. — My phone vibrates. I shifted to a vibration-only alarm a few years ago, and I find it a gentler way to wake up. Fifteen minutes later, I drag myself out of bed and pop my head into the living room to see if my houseguest, K., is up yet. We're going for a run with our friend, Y.
10 a.m. — I chomp on a biscuit and take a small pack of smoked salmon out of the freezer while waiting for K. to wrap up in the bathroom. Y. texts to say she's sleeping in, so it's just me and K. running. I have an early spring half-marathon on the agenda, and today's training run is an easy 65 minutes. It's snowing hard, visibility is nil, and the sidewalks are sloppy, but we still have a fun time chatting.
11:15 a.m. — I jump in the shower to warm up and wash my hair. K. and I make lunch: a plain omelette and sliced tomato sprinkled with sea salt, and a toasted everything bagel topped with avocado and smoked salmon. I hang out with K., my roommate, the dog, and a box of Oreos for the next couple of hours until it's time for K. to head back to her city.
4 p.m. — Laundry time. I can't wait for the day I have in-suite laundry. The cost is $2.50 for the wash, $0 for air drying. $2.50
5 p.m. — The grocery store closest to our apartment is of the not-cheap-and-mediocre variety, so I take the subway to another one a few blocks away. By the time I leave, my bags are full of goodies: fish sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, bananas, apples, mushrooms, coleslaw, tuna, a pineapple, two limes, cilantro, rice noodles, green onions, avocados, chips, and cookies. The total is lower than the average weekly amount, because I was feeling unwell last week and ended up not using any of my salad ingredients, including chicken. This week's haul over-indexes in junk food. $43.48
6:15 p.m. — Instead of doing anything productive, I declare it's chip time and proceed to inhale a lot of chips on the couch while messaging friends.
7:30 p.m. — It's time to stop being a lazy bum and make my lunches for the week. The next few hours are spent making a variation of Pad Thai and banana bread from the ever-growing stash of over-ripe bananas in the freezer. The Shakeout Podcast (about running) is on during all this. I've been waiting all week to listen to the episode on Malindi Elmore's Canadian marathon record.
10:15 p.m. — I hop online to do a tiny bit of work while eating tons of chocolate fingers and tangerines, because they help with the Sunday Scaries? As if an excuse is needed for snacks.
11 p.m. — It's time to start getting ready for bed, because I have an early chiropractor appointment tomorrow.
11:49 p.m. — After wasting the better half of an hour looking up facials I can't afford, I finally close my eyes.
Daily Total: $45.98

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — My alarm vibrates, but I stay in bed for another 15 minutes. Then it's a mad dash to brush teeth, put on makeup (just a bit of eyeshadow), get dressed (black blouse, faux-suede tights from Club Monaco, and black faux-suede booties), and get on the subway.
8:20 a.m. — Thanks to my chiro, my SI joint is now moving again! The total is $50, but my insurance will cover 80%. I hop back onto the subway to get to work. $10
8:40 a.m. — I look at communication pieces that need to be refreshed for the next campaign, then book an appointment with my other chiro because my ankle is still feeling jammed (it's a complex recurring issue).
12:45 p.m. — I devour some of the chicken and Pad Thai that I made last night, then inhale two snack bags of cheese Ritz crackers. Pre-period cravings are calling, and I can't resist.
2:30 p.m. — My colleague drops by with a bag of fries, because I like fries. She is such a sweetheart. Fries > apple. I feel no shame because PMS.
5:15 p.m. — The last few hours were a blur of meetings. I take advantage of the fact we're not yet in the busy season and go home. I pop into Papyrus to pick up a birthday card. An online community I'm a part of is rallying to fulfill a birthday wish for a war veteran turning 100. He wants to receive 100 cards! There's a closing sale, so the card is 30% off. $4.05
7 p.m. — It's time to meet my running group for our Monday workout. I like to think of running as my second job. It gives me another set of goals outside of work, and I can choose to be competitive or just lean into health and fitness, depending on what else is going on in my life. Plus, it's given me the best friends and mentors. Before leaving for the group, I nibble chocolate and share handfuls of chips with the dog. This is def. not healthy, but I rely on quick, light, high-calorie snacks to get me through the mega-long Monday sessions. I cross my fingers in hopes that the pre-period hormones won't gatecrash this workout.
10 p.m. — I'm finally home after the run and a quick weights session, and it's dinner time! I throw together a huge salad with spinach, tuna, red pepper, tomato, cucumber, red kidney beans, and hummus. I also make sure to take an iron supplement with a glass of juice (vitamin C helps with absorption). I eat with a fork in one hand, the phone buzzing from group chats in the other.
10:30 p.m. — My roommate is nowhere to be seen, so I take the dog out for his bedtime pee.
11 p.m. — I hurry to shower and get my nighttime routine done. For the sake of efficiency, I brush my teeth and wash my face (with a cleanser from The Face Shop) in the shower. Tonight's moisturizer is the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I scroll through work emails and contemplate hopping online, however nothing is urgent, so I wait until the morning.
Daily Total: $14.05

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — My alarm vibrates and gets turned off. It's too early.
7:08 a.m. — Oops. I severely overslept, and now I'm rushing to throw on clothes and get out the door for run number one. I'm doing a double today (running two times a day is called a double) and, thankfully, the training plan only calls for one double this week. Next week will be the start of double doubles, and I'm so not excited about it. My morning loop is just under 35 minutes at an easy pace.
8:07 a.m. — I scramble to pack lunch and snacks, throw on eyeshadow, and get dressed (a loose black Club Monaco dress and brown Ralph Lauren booties) before hopping onto the subway.
9:30 a.m. — It's banana and chocolate fingers time! There are no morning meetings today — a pleasant surprise. Most of the morning is spent communicating to partners about the next campaign.
12:30 p.m. — I have more chicken and Pad Thai from home while catching up on industry news via StrategyOnline, Marketing Week, and AdAge. I text Y. to see if she wants to run together today.
3:30 p.m. — My meetings are done for the day! I forgot to pack an apple so more chocolate fingers it is. I also scrounge around my bag for candy and find squashed Haribo gummies and Ferrero Rocher.

5 p.m. — One of the communication pieces is ready for partner review, and my manager tells me to go home. Once creative direction is finalized, and we enter the roll-out stage, I'll be working more than enough hours (10- to 14-hour days for a few weeks).
5:15 p.m. — I stop at a print shop to pick up custom cards. A lot of my friends don't live in the city anymore, so I'm sharing my love and appreciation for them via snail mail. The cards come to $21.89, but I prepaid online last week.
6 p.m. — Y. has a date night planned, so instead of running, I sit on the couch eating chips like the useless lump I am. I message with friends in group chats, Tinder a bit with no success, and pet the dog.
8 p.m. — Apparently, I fell asleep. I continue to do nothing on the couch, because I am a potato. My brother messages me to invite me to dinner tomorrow.
8:45 p.m. — Okay, we (me and my shoes) need to hit the road. I get dressed and head out for run number two: 60 minutes at an easy pace. My legs feel better than they did in the morning run but still tired.
10 p.m. — I shower, make and eat a salad (same as yesterday's), take my iron supplement, hang out with R., and play with the dog before getting ready for bed.
11:30 p.m. — Lights out yo.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6 a.m. — My alarm vibrates. Nope.
6:30 a.m. — I need to get out of bed now or I won't be able to run today (65 minutes at an easy pace). The chiro I'm seeing tonight will be doing a lot of soft-tissue work and running afterward is not advised. I make sure to put on extra moisturizer (Neutrogena) and SPF because it's -8°C, sunny, and windy AF.
8:15 a.m. — Somehow every light is red on the way home, but the winter sunshine is glorious, and an extremely handsome guy with a pup smiles at me. I rush to shower, put on makeup, and get dressed (black Banana Republic pants, a black Club Monaco sweater, a caramel-coloured faux-suede vest, and black booties). I pack lunch and snacks, then drink juice and take an iron supplement before hopping on the subway.
9:45 a.m. — It's banana and banana bread time! My roommate ate most of the double loaf from Sunday already, but I managed to salvage a piece!
1:30 p.m. — Unexpectedly, I get pulled into meetings to discuss how I'm feeling about the creative direction on a current project. I'm actually feeling very worried about whether or not the style will resonate with our audience. I'm not feeling hungry, but I know it's important to eat, so I have more chicken, Pad Thai, and an apple while reading reports on media channel usage trends.
2 p.m. — I'm stuck on how to architect a communications flow, so I nibble mini eggs I found at home and brought in. I'm not sure how old they are, but they taste fine. I also message Y. and our good friend S. to make non-workout plans.
4:40 p.m. — Our creative agency shares a revised direction with us, and I'm feeling much better about the approach. It's time to take the TTC to the chiro, even though I've gotten nothing done due to an afternoon packed with meetings.
6:30 p.m. — Wow, the appointment runs way over, but my foot and ankle are feeling much improved. A friend is also getting treatment here, so we chat before parting ways, and I head to my brother's for dinner. The appointment is $90, but my insurance will cover $52 of it. $38
7 p.m. — The water pressure at my brother's is great, so I hop into the shower and wash my hair while he cooks. My hair now smells like lemongrass. My brother loves cooking, and dinner is a huge steak and veggies. He has to conference into a meeting, so I subway home.
9 p.m. — I eat a cookie, an apple, and a few handfuls of chips because apparently I'm still hungry. I take a calcium supplement, then log online to do some work.
10:30 p.m. — My roommate brings home Uncle Tetsu's cheesecake, and obviously I need to sample a slice. It's dangerous because it tastes so light. I write personalized messages in the cards I picked up yesterday.
11:20 p.m. — And the period starts. I remind myself that it's an indicator that I'm healthy, and my body is producing enough bone-protecting estrogen. I do my bedtime routine and browse for condos that I can't afford until I drift into sweet, sweet slumber.
Daily Total: $38

Day Five

3:45 a.m. — My bladder rudely demands a visit to the bathroom. Can we not wait until the morning? This bed is warm and cozy.
6:30 a.m. — I wake up with a start. Is it time to run? Nope. I drift back to sleep.
7:30 a.m. — My alarm vibrates. Nooooooo.
7:50 a.m. — I emerge from the blankets, do my morning routine, pack lunch, take an iron supplement, and get onto the subway. Today's work outfit is another pair of black Banana Republic pants (they fit well, so I own multiple pairs), a black Banana Republic blouse, and a pair of Blundstones that will be swapped for heels once I get to the office (the weather is super-yucky).
9:30 a.m. — Period cramps are not fun. I go to Rexall to get acetaminophen, a tallboy of grapefruit Bubly, and deodorant, which is on sale. (Rexall purchases are eligible for 4% cash back with one of my credit cards.) Back at the office, I crack open the Bubly, take an acetaminophen, and eat cheese Ritz to combat a bit of lightheadedness and nausea. $13.65
11:45 a.m. — I go up to another floor to have lunch with colleagues. We all bring lunch (more chicken and Pad Thai for me) and have the loveliest time. We've been working together for months now, but this is our first lunch. It's so nice to get to know my partners on a personal level. We make a pact to schedule a monthly lunch meeting!
1:45 p.m. — While on a call, munching mini eggs, I pay last month's $700 credit card bill (the balance is zero). I can't live without mobile banking and the mute button.
4:10 p.m. — I finally have a break from calls and meetings, so I go to the post office at Shoppers to mail out the cards and buy another 10-pack of stamps. $18.53
5:35 p.m. — I mute a call with an agency partner and steal random chips someone left in the communal snacks corner.
6:05 p.m. — I need to leave ASAP or I'm not going to make my running group. I hop on the subway and make it home in time to take a 15-minute power nap.
7:08 p.m. — I force myself to get out of my warm, comfy bed, get dressed and run to meet the crew.
10 p.m. — Finally home, I make and eat a salad and take another iron supplement. The original plan was to go back online and work, but I have a good cry session instead due to a near accident and injury at training tonight. Someone from another running group didn't look before crossing the straightway during one of my fast intervals. This is incredibly dangerous and violates running etiquette. I'm too emotionally exhausted to work right now.
12:30 a.m. — I'm finally calm enough to sleep.
Daily Total: $32.18

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — My alarm vibrates. I can't do this.
7:30 a.m. — I drag my poor, tired body out of bed and rush through my morning routine. I'm hoping to make it to the office just after 8 a.m., because I need quiet, uninterrupted working time. Today's outfit is a pair of jeans, a black and grey Club Monaco sweater, and brown faux-suede booties.
10:15 a.m. — Guess what time it is? Banana and chocolate fingers time! I'm going to be real honest: I'm disappointed our media partner didn't bring in breakfast for our 9 a.m. meeting.
12:30 p.m. — Whelp. The morning was hijacked by unexpected meetings, although one was a good session with our media agency. I eat the last of the chicken and Pad Thai while dealing with a couple of personal messages: 1) I volunteer as an alumni mentor with my alma mater, and my mentee has secured a summer internship placement! I text him to make a date for celebration drinks. 2) My very own former mentor reaches out for drinks and a catchup.
3 p.m. — How am I in yet another meeting?
4 p.m. — Management has new feedback on creative that was already approved earlier in the week. The creatives are going to kill me. I really hope they don't make memes of me à la @medianightmares. I rage-eat stolen chips.
5:35 p.m. — I've hit a new low in life. I have 6 p.m. drink plans (because Friday is a no-run day!), but I'm still on a call. I put the phone on mute and run into the washroom to change a tampon, timing my responses to avoid the tune of the glitchy automatic flushing toilets. While still on the call, I pack up and walk a few subway stops.
7 p.m. — I meet my friend and, after a Negroni ($15, plus tax and tip) and lots of laughs, we part ways, and I walk home. The creative agency is texting updated work for gut-check approval. That Negroni was strong, and I'm now somehow tipsy despite my usually high tolerance. $20
7:30 p.m. — It was a bad idea to walk home. The siren that is Winners beckons. I buy a pair of cute beige faux-suede heels. They'll come in handy for wedding season. $33.90
8 p.m. — I'm craving Chinese food but am too lazy to trek to Chinatown. Instead, I make and eat enough pasta to feed a small village. I finalize plans with Y. and S. and really want to go to bed, but there's still a chance the agency will share updated creative tonight, so I hop online to do some work instead.
11 p.m. — I go to bed, because I'm beyond knackered. I probably still need to put in four or five hours of work this weekend, but that's a problem for another day.
Daily Total: $53.90

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Bladder, why didn't you get the memo that it's the weekend? For reasons unknown to me, I make breakfast instead of going back to bed. I eat a toasted everything bagel with peanut butter and take a calcium supplement, then drift into a nap. Weekends are for running and napping and not much else!
1 p.m. — I wake up to a symphony of snoring. Both R. and the dog are napping. I check the weather, and the temperature is no longer in the negative double digits. I eat a bunch of random chocolates before slowly getting dressed in multiple layers for an 80-minute run. I'm doing a few segments at a decently hard pace, plus a light weights session. My hip is a bit tight and sore still, but it should be runnable. I slather on a thick layer of Neutrogena moisturizer, SPF, and Blistex to combat the cold, wind, and winter sunshine.
5:15 p.m. — Post-run, I jump into the shower to warm up, then eat a banana and cookies. I catch up on messages. S. is in charge of snacks for tonight's girls' night, and she got cookies, popcorn, and chips. Bless this girl. I contemplate doing a bit of work but remind myself that Saturday is a rest day. I almost got burnt out a few years ago, so now I have a hard rule against working on Saturdays unless it's an emergency or my presence is required at an event.
6:30 p.m. — My friend, who is a real estate agent, texts me a potential listing for a condo, but I'm not a fan. I'm desperate to get into the super-hot Toronto condo market, but with my limited budget of about $600,000, it's hard.
7 p.m. — I make a quick dinner of chicken broth, frozen dumplings, tomato, and spinach topped with lime and Sriracha. I take an iron supplement and start watching Red Sparrow on Netflix. My mom texts to ask if I want anything from her Costco run, and I request spinach and bananas. (I'll be heading to the suburbs to have dinner with my parents tomorrow!)
7:30 p.m. — I pack St. Germain, a lemon, and a cocktail measuring cup before going to Y.'s place. On the way, I buy a cheap bottle of white ($14.95) at the Wine Shop and a bottle of sparkling water ($1.91) at Sobeys. Elderflower-wine spritzers are on deck tonight! $16.86
9:30 p.m. — I love Y. and S. so much — and these spritzers! We need more wine, so we go to Sobeys for snacks, sparkling water, and white wine. Someone pays, but it's not me. We're feeling the spritzers and having a ball of a time. We drink more, eat more, and laugh more until I head home around midnight.
Daily Total: $16.86
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