A Week In Winnipeg, MB, On An $81,000 Salary

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Today: an occupational therapist working in healthcare who makes $81,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a birthday card for her mom.
Warning: The diarist struggles with an eating disorder.
Occupation: Occupational Therapist
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 32
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Salary: $81,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,946
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,300 (I own a one-bedroom condo. This total includes property taxes and condo fees.)
Car Loan: $322.66 (I have four more years left.)
Hydro: $30 (roughly)
Phone & Internet: $160
Gym: $40.30
Pension: $592.60 (This is automatically deducted and matched by my employer.)
RRSP: $100
TFSA: $900

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake up after a short but sweet sleep. I take a shower to wash the sand out of my hair from beach volleyball last night, then brew coffee, and do a simple skin-care and makeup routine of moisturizer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. I get dressed in black tights and a black, floral dress before bundling up for the 40-minute walk to work.
9:30 a.m. — I've been at my desk working away for an hour and a half and am starving. I mix my Vega protein shake with a frozen banana, cashew milk, and ice cubes. I take the blender lid off to stir my smoothie and accidentally press the blend button. Chocolate shake sprays directly into my face, hair, all over my clothes, on the carpet, and on the wall. I want to cry but am fully aware that this is hilarious. It takes me a good 15 minutes to clean up. Thank goodness for the spare sweater and skirt I keep in my desk drawer. (Can you tell I half-live at my office?) There's still 3/4 of my shake left, so I down it once I'm clean.
1 p.m. — Lunch time! I walk to GoodLife Fitness and do a spin class (included in my gym membership). I quickly shower, walk back to the office, and eat a random assortment of cucumbers, rice cakes with peanut butter, an apple, and a bunch of Sour Patch Kids someone brought in. I keep a stash of food at the office, including ground coffee, tea bags, rice cakes, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of protein mix for shakes, and almond milk creamer for my coffee. I work close to a million amazing restaurants so keeping food at work is essential in preventing me from eating out too often!
4:30 p.m. — I stop at Mountain Equipment Co-op on the walk home to return spin cleats that don't fit. A refund of $35 goes back on the old Mastercard. When I get home, I lay down for my semi-annual nap, because I know that I have a late night and a busy weekend ahead. Getting old is REAL, ya'll. I get tired!
6:30 p.m. — I sleep for half an hour, which is a solid nap! I get up and have a dinner of quinoa with veggies and hummus from my fridge. My dad had surgery today, and the hospital is keeping him overnight, so I pick up my mom from the hospital and give her a ride back to their house. I'm going to a bonfire party nearby and will be staying over at my parents' afterwards so that I can drive my mom to the hospital first thing in the morning. I brew peppermint tea to take in a travel mug, because I won't be drinking alcohol tonight.
9 p.m. — I'm finally at the bonfire! I get to see close friends as well as others I haven't seen in ages.
12 a.m. — Back at my parents' house, I immediately crash.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — I wake up in the guest bedroom disoriented. Where am I? What day is it? When I realize it's Saturday, I'm immediately amped up because weekends are THE BEST. I get dressed and brew coffee to go. I drop my mom off at the hospital and tell her to send my dad all of my love. I remind her that if they need anything, I'm only a phone call away. I love my parents so much.
9 a.m. — Back at home, I quickly throw a load of laundry in the washer before my run. I usually do a long run with friends on Saturday mornings, but nobody is available today, so I go out on my own. I plan to do another full marathon this summer, so I like to maintain my distance around the 21-km mark in the off-season. This may sound crazy, but running is like free therapy to me. I put in 19 km on this glorious Saturday morning! The temperature is just below freezing, which is perfect running weather if you layer appropriately! I see a lot of other runners and pleasant people walking their dogs.
11:30 a.m. — I get home, stretch, foam roll, chug water, rinse off, and put my clothes in the dryer. I make myself a chocolate protein shake with frozen banana and cashew milk because this combination will help my aching muscles recover. I also take my B12 supplement and text my mom to check in on my dad. They're home from the hospital already! I worry about them, because both parents have health problems, and I'm the only one of my siblings who lives in the same city as them.
1 p.m. — I drive to the mall to browse for an outfit for tonight. I'm going to a wedding social, which is a Manitoba thing (it's called a stag and doe in other parts of the country). Basically, the couple getting married hosts a big party with music, snacks, drinks, and prize draws, and the money they make from charging admission helps pay for the wedding. I don't see an outfit that catches my eye.
2 p.m. — I head to the grocery store for two large tubs of cashew milk, almond milk coffee creamer, oranges, a cucumber, russet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, a large tub of fresh spinach, bananas, grapes, steel cut oats, frozen blueberries, frozen butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, nutritional yeast, rice cakes, walnuts, dried cranberries, black beans, chickpeas, dried fruit bars, vegan cheese, hummus, high protein/moderate carb grain wraps, edamame pasta, a tin of French vanilla coffee, a dark chocolate bar, a case of diet root beer, dish soap, body wash, and cheap fake eyelashes for tonight. I do a big grocery shop once a week and cook most of my meals at home. This shop was slightly larger than usual, but some of the purchases will tide me over for the next couple of weeks. $105.23
3:30 p.m. — It's sunny and 0°C, which is unseasonably warm for Winnipeg, so I walk along the river trail and feel the warm sun on my face. Back at home, I unload my groceries and throw a huge pan of veggies in the oven to roast. I also do my dishes, clean up my place, and do a home pedicure.
6:30 p.m. — I throw together a wrap with hummus, vegan cheese, and roasted veggies. It's SO GOOD. I eat it with a side of veggies and have walnuts with cranberries and dark chocolate mixed in for dessert. After dinner, I shower, do a full face of makeup (including my false lashes), and try to pick an outfit for tonight. I can't recall what people wear to wedding socials in the winter months, so I decide on a mock turtleneck, long-sleeved leopard print dress with tights and black boots. I keep the jewellery simple because I'm basically wearing a leopard-print onesie and don't need to go over the top.
8 p.m. — I arrive at my friend K.'s before the social. She's still doing hair and makeup along with our friend P., so we chitchat before I drive us all to the social hall. We meet our other friends there and have a great visit. I don't spend any money because I prepaid for my ticket, am not drinking alcohol (driving) and, as a strict rule, don't gamble — even on social-prize packages. I duck out around 11:30 p.m. and head to my boyfriend L.'s place. We stay up talking until around 1 a.m., at which point I pass out cold.
Daily Total: $105.23

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — My alarm kills me this morning! I regretfully leave my sleeping L. in bed and get ready to go to The Forks for The Great Skate! This is one of the best events of the year. Usually, it's a skating race on our river trail, but this year, the ice on the river is unsafe. Instead, walking trails have been groomed for skating, and they're decorated with lights and warming huts. I pay $4 for parking when I arrive, and we have an amazing morning on the ice. After the race, we gather inside for brunch and coffee. There are fruit trays and amazing vegan cinnamon buns! I prepaid $40 (which goes to charity) to participate in the event. The brunch and race medals are included in the fee. $4
10:30 a.m. — I get home and am in a wonderful mood. It's a beautiful day again, so I decide to do a 10-km run. My legs are sore from yesterday, so I go slow AF.
12:30 p.m. — I get home from my run still feeling restless, so I decide to squeeze in a spin class.
1:30 p.m. — On my way home from the gym, my gas tank beeps empty. I don't fill up with gas very often, but I did a LOT of driving on Friday. I stop quickly for gas before going home and inhaling a protein shake, rice cakes with peanut butter, and random fruits and veggies. $20
3 p.m. — I drive over to L.'s house for his annual family Super Bowl party! We play card games and munch on snacks. I help prepare a huge veggie tray and a fruit salad (dragon fruit, pineapple, kiwi, and blueberries). I also enjoy a 3 p.m. glass of wine with his mom and aunt as well as about a million plain potato chips. We order Famous Dave's for delivery. The group gets a huge assortment of BBQ and sides, and I get a taco-inspired salad with greens, corn, beans, tomatoes, and taco chips. I request it without dressing and cheese (I hate salad dressing with a passion). I add avocado and salsa, and it's delicious. L. pays, because he's a generous guy who makes a very decent salary. L. and I don't tend to disagree about money. He prefers to pay for dinners out, but I cook meals for him quite often and treat him to coffees, etc. It evens out. I enjoy the game but fall asleep for the last bit. Who falls asleep in a room full of people?
10 p.m. — Everyone leaves. I would normally stay over at L.'s place, but I'm not feeling well, so I go home for the night. Unfortunately, I have a binge/purge episode. I'm in recovery for bulimia and, while I've come a long way, I still have episodes every now and then and find them discouraging. I let myself feel the negative emotions that accompany this behaviour for a few minutes (self-loathing and shame), then I reflect on why this happened tonight so that I can share my thoughts at my next therapy session. For anyone else out there who struggles with this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Please consider getting treatment because it does help.
Daily Total: $24

Day Four

6:40 a.m. — I wake up feeling ROUGH from the night before, but I'm excited to have a productive day at work. I vow to do something nice for myself, then jump in the shower, do my makeup, brew coffee, and bundle up for my walk to work. It's cold this morning, so I layer the F up.
12:30 p.m. — I finally take a break to go to BodyPump, which is a moderate-weight, high-repetition barbell conditioning class. I LOVE BodyPump and am going to Toronto for instructor training in March! I've been practising to get my moves and form right in preparation for training. Today's class is hard because we do a million slow pushups. I take a quick body shower after class and trudge back to the office.
4 p.m. — I call my L., make plans to see him later, and bundle up for the walk home. I daydream while walking and end up missing my turns, so I get home 15 minutes late. I snack on rice crackers with hummus.
6 p.m. — My gift to myself today? A walk to L.'s. I love being outside in nature! I pack up my things to stay overnight and will walk to work from his place in the morning. I also throw in a bottle of red wine just for fun. L. doesn't drink alcohol, but I occasionally enjoy a post-dinner wine or cocktail.
6:45 p.m. — I arrive to find my L. napping. I hop into bed with him and we catch up on our days. We're in bed naked at this point so...yada yada yada. We cuddle for a bit, then I get up and put fresh broccoli and cauliflower in the oven to roast. I unpack the food I brought and make a big bowl of quinoa with roasted beets, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and edamame with harissa sauce. I pour a glass of red wine after dinner and watch a Christmas movie leftover on the PVR, because my L. has fallen back asleep. Can you tell we are old?
10 p.m. — My dad calls in a panic. My mom is driving him to the ER, because he's having bleeding, which they think is a result of a surgical complication. I try to stay level-headed as I talk to them, and I ask them to fill me in when they get to the ER. I wake L. and brief him on the situation and wait to hear back from my mom. I stress-eat toast and dark chocolate, but I'm hungry, so I'm not worried about it.
10:30 p.m. — My mom calls to inform me that my dad is in with the doctor, and they're able to manage the situation. My dad will be discharged in a few hours. I go to bed but struggle to fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and immediately text my mom. Dad is at home and doing okay, but his spirit is a bit broken. I do prayers for him and my mom, then get up and get ready for work. I have a day of meetings with very, very important executives, so I wash, blowdry, and straighten my hair. I wear a black boat-neck top, a fitted houndstooth skirt, and tights. I keep heels at the office as well. It's -26°C with the wind chill, so I bundle up, put pants over top of my skirt, and walk to the office.
8 a.m. — At work, I de-layer and make coffee in my press. I have a rice cake with peanut butter and a bunch of fresh fruit for breakfast. I also have candy from the office stash, because my body doesn't care about the time of day when it comes to treats!
12:30 p.m. — I was in back-to-back meetings all morning and missed the opportunity to go to my noon spin class. I work through lunch hour and prepare for my afternoon meeting. I eat the salad I packed (spinach and roasted veggies with edamame and smoked tofu for protein) and pair it with an apple and several rice cakes from my desk stash. I also check in with my mom. She's okay but sounds overwhelmed because she's caring for my dad at home.
2 p.m. — I. Need. Caffeine. I grab a diet root beer from my office stash before heading to my 2 p.m. meeting with my boss, who is amazing. I've been in my role for less than a year, and I'm always concerned about whether or not I'm performing well, despite having gotten positive feedback. My job is very stressful and the volume is high, so I often work long hours to stay on top of things. The meeting goes well! Afterward, I snack on another rice cake with peanut butter, celery sticks, and a handful of candy because I'm going for a run after work and will need fuel!
4 p.m. — I go to the indoor track (membership already paid), because it's way too cold outside. I run in circles for 10 km, and I'm glad to do it, but I'm too inside my own head by the end of the run, and I feel sad as I'm walking home. I stop to pick up a bottle of gin on the way, and L. texts to see if I want to see The Gentleman at the theatre. I do, but we agree that we won't make it to the early show on time, and the late show is too late. Instead, he says he'll come over to have dinner and watch a movie. My spirits are immediately lifted. I love L. so much. $15.18
6:30 p.m. — Finally home, I clean up and prep dinner while sipping a gin and blood orange cocktail. I cook lentils and black beans with taco seasoning and chop up peppers, cucumbers, and avocado for a big taco salad. I also do the dishes as soon as I'm done. L. arrives and has brought himself Sri Lankan food (despite my offer to cook for him). We set the table and enjoy our respective dinners together. Afterward, we can't seem to keep our hands off each other (he's wearing an outfit that makes him look extra sexy), so we do THAT for awhile. We then agree to spend a limit of half an hour catching up on work emails (I definitely have a big glass of red wine while doing this), and we fall asleep watching Captive on Netflix.
Daily Total: $15.18

Day Six

7 a.m. — I wake up 20 minutes late to the sound of my emergency alarm. SHOOT! I scurry around my place getting ready for work, thankful that I preset my coffee maker last night. I have another important meeting with an executive this morning, so I put on navy dress pants with a silky white top and fancy-ish grey cardigan. I keep several pairs of cute dress shoes at work, so I plan to wear my leopard-print flats with this outfit. I do my makeup and use a straightener to wave my hair, then throw together leftovers for lunch and start the long walk to my office.
8:05 a.m. — I arrive exactly five minutes late. I start half an hour earlier than most of my coworkers, so nobody notices or cares. I'm extra hungry this morning, so I immediately blend my usual chocolate-banana protein shake and follow it with peanut butter on a rice cake. I make coffee and finish my preparation for my big meeting this morning. (Spoiler alert: It goes well, although my client is not a happy person.)
12:15 p.m. — I half walk, half run to a spin class and hammer out a great workout! My hip flexors are tight, so I make sure to do a decent stretch. I rinse off and go back to the office where my giant salad awaits. It's so big today that I have to eat it out of an extra-large serving bowl! I also have an orange (it's legit a Cara Cara orange) and peppermint candies. I have a million things to do this afternoon, but first I make myself a peppermint tea with a teabag from my desk stash.
4 p.m. — I'm leaving ON TIME today. Not because I'm finished all of the work I had hoped to get done, but because I'm going skiing tonight! When I get home, I roast a large pan of veggies and fix a quick dinner of edamame pasta with tomato sauce to go with them.
6 p.m. — I meet up with my friends at the Windsor Park Nordic Centre. We rent cross country skis and boots and pay the park's entrance fee. It's a beautiful night, and we have a great ski and visit! One friend keeps falling and the other one keeps taking hilarious Boomerangs of her. I manage the course very well and don't fall once until the end, when I'm standing perfectly still and wipe out for absolutely no reason. Rest assured, my friends laugh at me. $17.25
8:30 p.m. — I pop by my parents' place after skiing, because my dad is finally up for visitors. When I get there, he's in quite a bit of pain and looks wrecked. My mom is managing okay, but I can tell she's stressed trying to look after him. My mom and I have tea while chatting with my dad, and we solidify birthday plans for my mom, which will be dinner on Friday.
10 p.m. — On my way home, I pick up strawberries, dark chocolate, an icing decorating kit, and a case of ginger ale. I'm making dark chocolate–covered strawberries for my mom's birthday dessert! I would've liked to make something more elaborate, but my mom says she isn't feeling cake these days. $18.67
11 p.m. — I'm home and exhausted but also very hungry. I make a large second dinner of roasted potatoes, flatbread with hummus, and dark chocolate. This may sound like a lot of food, but with my daily level of activity this girl has got to eat! I stay up way too late watching Contagion on Netflix (why?!?) and flop into bed around 12:30 a.m.
Daily Total: $35.92

Day Seven

6:20 a.m. — I wake up ON TIME today, thank goodness. I shower and blowdry my hair, do my makeup (eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara), and put on THE CUTEST fitted olive green dress, which I pair with black tights and a nude belt. I'll put on my leopard-print heels when I get to work (they're not as tacky as they sound, I promise). I have English breakfast tea with almond milk creamer and head out for my walking commute. I have back-to-back meetings again today, starting with a particularly contentious case this morning, so I'm happy to have this walk to calm my nerves.
8 a.m. — I get to the office, make coffee in my press, and get to work! I have pre-meetings, talk to execs, and remind myself how fortunate I am to work with such wonderful people. My meetings start at 10 a.m. and continue nonstop after that.
12 p.m. — I have no time for a true lunch break today (this makes me sad), so I eat at my desk between two meetings while trying to catch up on emails. Lunch today is the same as yesterday: a huge lentil taco salad with avocado. Dessert is a large portion of grapes.
4 p.m. — I leave work on time to make it to my dietician appointment. I'm fortunate to have access to a not-for-profit eating disorder treatment team. I was on the waitlist for a year and a half, but the wait was so worth it, and my dietician is phenomenal. We discuss how things have been going the last two weeks, and I come out of my session with a couple of new but very manageable goals.
6 p.m. — On the way home, I stop to pick up a birthday card for my mom. When I get home, I make the chocolate-covered strawberries and decorate them with the different colours of icing I got last night. They look super-cute! I store them in a container with wax paper. I'm excited to give them to my mom. $1.25
6 p.m. — I make myself a flatbread pizza with the leftover tomato sauce from yesterday's pasta. I add veggies and vegan cheese for toppings! For dessert, I enjoy a gin cocktail and dark chocolate.
8 p.m. — I put on a cute outfit and head over to L.'s. I'm so attracted to him that I'm all over him as soon as I walk in the door. L. and I have been having sex for over nine years. We have a complicated past (think Carrie and Big from Sex and the City), but we've both changed A LOT over time. We hadn't officially dated since about 2014, however we stayed friends and continued to hook up unless one of us was dating someone else. In the past year, we spent a lot of time in separate therapy sessions working on our respective issues. I wasn't expecting that the end result would be us getting back together, but here we are! We've officially been together for about seven months now, and it's like dating a completely different person than before. He's ready for me to move into his place and rent mine out temporarily (we both own our own condos), however I'm not quite ready yet... But soon!
Daily Total: $1.25
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