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A Week In The Okanagan, BC, On A $45,000 Salary

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Today: an office administrator working in real estate who makes $45,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on ginger beer.
Editor's note: This diary was submitted shortly before the latest COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in BC.
Occupation: Office Administrator
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 30
Location: The Okanagan, BC
Salary: $45,000
Net Worth: $150,457 (This is spread across my TFSA, RRSP, vacation savings, emergency savings, and seasons pass savings. My car is worth $7,000 and there's $140,000 in equity on my condo.)
Debt: $203,085.90 ($199,602.50 mortgage and a $3,483.40 car loan)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,512
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage, Strata Fees & Home Insurance: $847.27 (My boyfriend, Z., lives with me and pays me $850 rent.)
Car Loan: $348.34 (will be paid off in February)
Car Insurance: $127.61
Phone: $101.35
Bank Fees: $16.95
Gym Membership: $47.25
Apple Music & Storage: $15.80
Internet: $28 ($56 split with my man)

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?
The focus in my family was less on my education and more on sports and the possibility of a scholarship, but then an injury screwed that up. I did one semester away at a university and tried to cover my own finances but inevitably dropped out. After spending a decade considering different career paths and debating going back to school, I've recently started taking bookkeeping classes online through my local college. My goal is to be self-employed and join the work-from-home force.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We didn't discuss money. My parents grew up rather poor, so I don't think they had the knowledge to share.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I had a paper route as a kid. I only made around $8 to $12 a week, but it taught me responsibility, and it was something I did with my dad. Throughout high school, I worked several customer service jobs, my favourite being at the movie theatre. I worked mostly for spending money and blew it all on clothes and makeup — I didn't save a dime.

Did you worry about money growing up?
In elementary school, my dad worked overtime and overnight shifts, and I worried that my parents were struggling. However, they always kept a roof over our heads and food on the table and paid for my sports.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. Do I wish I had more savings? Absolutely! I don't make very much, but I'm happy and grateful with my quality of life, the travels I've gone on, and the things I have. Turning 30 this year, I've become more concerned with being financially prepared for having kids and retiring one day.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially responsible for myself at 18 when I moved out. There have been a couple of times throughout my 20s that I've moved back in with my family for a month or two, and I know they would always be there for me if I truly needed it.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, my parents helped me with the downpayment on my condo. For this, I am soooo grateful. I don't know if I could've accomplished buying my own place in my 20s without their help. If my parents ever needed money, I would gladly repay them.

Day One

8:50 a.m. — Z. and I wake up naturally and cuddle, both happy to be hangover-free, unlike yesterday. We're both off on Mondays and normally go snowboarding because the hill is less busy than on the weekend. We load up my car and fill the tank ($60), then I run into Tim Hortons to grab us coffees. I can't resist getting a cinnamon bun to share ($5.85). I've been craving one ever since watching an episode of Master of None the other night. $65.85
10 a.m. — We didn't bother checking the weather this morning, so all the fresh snow is a pleasant surprise! We didn't think the mountain would be getting another dump like this for the rest of the season, so we're excited to have one last pow day. We cruise around and have a blast until we work up a serious hunger.
1:30 p.m. — We stop at A&W for lunch and both order Mushroom Mozza Burgers (mine with a veggie patty) and fries. The place is pretty much empty, however, the service is horrendous, and it literally takes an hour to get our food. I'm not normally picky about bad service, but there seems to be no reason for it, and we're dying to get back outside to enjoy the snow before the lifts close. Unfortunately, the experience takes up most of the afternoon, and we only get in a couple of runs after lunch. Z. pays.
3:30 p.m. — The lifts are closed, so we go home. My car gets so dirty on the drive that we stop at a carwash where Z. gives it a quick rinse for me. He's the best. $3
5 p.m. — Z. is exhausted, so he lays down for a nap. I'm not a napper so I make dinner with Seinfeld playing in the background. I'm making turkey Italian wedding soup with a recipe from @broccyourbody on Instagram. It's super easy, yummy, and healthy.
7 p.m. — Z. goes to the gym, so I pour myself a glass of red wine and take a bath. I do a Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (smells amazing!) and scroll Instagram and YouTube in the tub. When I get out, I apply my nighttime skin care: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relief, and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. I'm trying to keep perioral dermatitis at bay.
8 p.m. — I make healthy-ish cookies by mashing up a banana and adding rolled oats, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, and mini chocolate chips. I eat a couple and debate doing school work but instead watch an episode of Sailor Moon, which I just found on Crave.
Daily Total: $68.85

Day Two

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I hit snooze and cuddle with Z. for a half hour. I make the executive decision to wash my hair tomorrow for the extra 10 minutes of sleep.
7:30 a.m. — I wash up and get ready for work. I use Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, apply Skin Regimen 1.85 HA Booster (highly recommend this line; everything smells divine), First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, and Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. Brush my teeth, take my pill, put my hair in a ballet bun, and do my makeup. I get dressed in black jeans, a black mock-neck bodysuit, and tan suede boots, then hang out with Z. for a few minutes while he eats breakfast. I'm trying intermittent fasting on weekdays, which means skipping the fabulous breakfast he usually makes for us. It's only week two, and I want to give it at least a month. My stomach growls.
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and spend the morning catching up on emails and checking the occasional blog. Our office has stayed open through COVID-19, and we have to wear masks in all common areas, but I can take mine off when I'm in my own office. I just can't f*** with black coffee, so I suffer through a coffeeless morning, opting for a Passion Tazo tea. I get sucked in by a Sephora email and buy a clean beauty set that has the cleanser I love and a few other products I would definitely use. I use my points to get a few Rewards Bazaar items and a gift with purchase. $44.80
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I hop in my car and zip home. I have an hour break and live close enough that the trip is worth it. I heat up leftover soup on the stove and make a couple of cookies out of half a banana Z. left on the counter this morning. I eat the soup while watching an episode of Sex in the City, which I'm rewatching for the 20th time. Before leaving for work, I empty the dishwasher and pack a bag with gym clothes for later. I only realize when I'm out of the building that I forgot my running shoes.
2:30 p.m. — Time to have a coffee and snack on cookies while working. I also have a pineapple Oîkos yogurt. I was excited to try this flavour because I love to eat pineapple with vanilla yogurt, but it's really not that special.
5 p.m. — I'm done work for the day and stop at home to grab my shoes for the gym. Z. and I always meet at our gym after work. Half the time we do the same workout, but right now I'm adding more cardio instead of doing weights with him. I do half an hour on the elliptical and half an hour on the bike while watching RuPaul's Drag Race on my phone. Gottmik as Paris Hilton — that's hot!
6:30 p.m. — Get home, take a shower, wash my hair, and apply my nighttime skin care. Then I throw together an easy dinner of pasta with tomato sauce and turkey meatballs. I splash my light grey Lululemon outfit with tomato sauce, so I quickly spray it down with OxiClean and throw in a load of laundry. Z. gets home, and we eat together, then I sit down and do school work while he cleans the dishes and kitchen.
8 p.m. — Z. and I fool around, then put on The Sopranos and pass out.
Daily Total: $44.80

Day Three

6:20 a.m. — I only let myself hit snooze once this morning. We're trying to switch to working out in the mornings. Now that the days are longer, and the weather is getting nicer, we want to enjoy our evenings. I get to the gym, start with 20 minutes on the treadmill, and then do hip thrusts and a mini but mighty booty workout.
8 a.m. — I quickly shower, add a couple of curls to my hair, do my makeup, and get dressed in a black cami, black jeans, black booties, a sweater, and gold hoops. I'm happy with how I've pulled myself together in time for work at 8:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. — I'm super hungry so I make a cup of Earl Grey tea. I wonder if I'll truly adjust and get used to skipping breakfast. I'm happy fasting keeps me from mindlessly snacking all day, though.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime at last! I heat up leftover soup and stuff my face with a pickle, crackers, cheese, and turkey deli meat while I wait. When my hunger is satiated, I fix a few nails. I used to get my nails done but bought my own supplies and taught myself to do them during the pandemic.
2:30 p.m. — Back at work, I have my afternoon coffee like clockwork. I also snack on dry cereal throughout the afternoon.
5 p.m. — I'm finished work, and it's so nice to go right home and not to the gym. Z. took the day off to get a tattoo, so he's already home. We hang out for a bit, and I make us a snack of avocado on rice cakes with an apple. I move to the kitchen table and do school work while listening to the documentary he's watching about the fishing industry.
7:30 p.m. — After listening to the documentary, we're feeling guilty about the fish we're about to have for dinner, but it's already defrosted. I haven't eaten red meat in over 15 years, however, I do still eat poultry and fish. I fry up tilapia breaded in panko and serve it with basmati rice and green beans cooked with butter, garlic, cayenne, and sliced almonds. It's such a simple but delicious meal.
8:30 p.m. — We wash up and go to bed to watch The Departed. As usual, I fall asleep before the end.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:20 a.m. — I hit snooze once, then force myself out of bed with encouragement from Z. (He can't work out today because of his fresh tattoo.) I splash water on my face, brush my teeth, and throw on my gym clothes. I do 35 minutes on the treadmill with a steep incline, then a few upper-body exercises with light weights.
7:45 a.m. — I go home to shower, throw my hair in a ballet bun, and dress myself in black jeans, black booties, and a denim shirt. Z. is still home having his breakfast, so I sit with him for a few minutes while I apply my makeup.
10:30 a.m. — I cave and make a cup of coffee with a splash of Silk hazelnut creamer. I've read so many contradicting articles about intermittent fasting, and some suggest a little bit of creamer won't break your fast. They argue as long as you stay under 50 calories it's okay. Today, I choose to believe it.
12 p.m. — At home for lunch, I heat up my leftovers and notice there's a brown banana, so I make another batch of my healthy-ish cookies to snack on this afternoon. I debate doing school work now but end up watching an episode of Sex and the City instead.
2:30 p.m. — I have my afternoon coffee. The cookies didn't even last until now. In my defence, I did share one with a coworker. I feel like going out for dinner so I update my budgeting apps with what I spent over the weekend. I'm using Daily Budget & Budgeting Buddy; they have very different formats, so I like to use them both. I decide I shouldn't go out tonight, because we usually end up eating out during the weekend.
5:30 p.m. — It's nice out after work, so Z. picks me up, and we go for a ride on his motorcycle. He takes me to a cidery he discovered last weekend. We each get a pint of cider — mine is peach-bourbon — and share an amazing pizza: apples, brie, arugula, balsamic reduction, and prosciutto (on his half). I have a feeling we'll be coming here often. I pay. We do a pretty good job of taking turns paying when we eat out. $42.14
8 p.m. — We should go get groceries tonight, but neither of us feels like it now. I sit down and do a bit of school work (my goal is to do about an hour, five days a week). I'm still full from the pizza, but Z. is hungry so he throws chicken fingers in the oven. I hop in the shower to wash my hair quickly while they cook. I apply my skin care and join Z. to eat a few nuggets with sweet heat BBQ sauce. Afterward, we brush our teeth and put on The Sopranos, but I fall asleep immediately.
Daily Total: $42.14

Day Five

6:20 a.m. — I hit snooze and cuddle into Z. for a few extra minutes. I get myself to the gym and do 30 minutes on the elliptical and some back exercises. At home, I rinse off, apply my skin care, makeup, and throw some curls in my hair. Z. gives me a kiss goodbye. He's leaving early to get breakfast on the way to work because we never did buy groceries. I get dressed in high-waisted olive green jeans, a black cropped T-shirt, and Gucci look-a-like loafers. I grab a black cardi and am out the door.
11 a.m. — I've been feeling especially hungry this morning, so I have an Oîkos cappuccino-flavoured yogurt, which is hands down my favourite flavour. Moments later, it's announced that some angel in the office has brought donuts for everyone! I help myself to an apple fritter.
12 p.m. — On my lunch break, I zoom over to the grocery store and grab a fruit tray and a can of Old Jamaica ginger beer for my friend's birthday party tonight. BC recently lifted restrictions to allow gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors, so we'll be having drinks and snacks in her yard. I'm super excited to get together with my girls! I go home for lunch and find my Sephora purchase has arrived. I can't help but open it up and play with my new goodies. I put on the cream bronzer, cream cheek stain, and tinted lip balm. I'm happy with my purchases and think I'll get good use out of everything. I heat up turkey chili from the freezer, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, and watch YouTube while I eat. $9.88
2:30 p.m. — It's that time, so I make myself a latte at the office coffee machine.
4 p.m. — On Fridays, we have wine at the end of the day, so I have a glass of Cab Merlot from a local winery. It's very nice.
5 p.m. — I'm done for the day and drive to my friend's house. They've set up the yard so cute for her birthday! We all pitched in for a charcuterie board, so I pay my friend who picked it up ($20). Everyone brought something more to add as well, so the spread is pretty good. We drink wine, munch out, and catch up. It's been so long since we've gotten together in person. $20
9 p.m. — After birthday cake and champagne, I call it a night and have Z. come pick me up. I work in the morning and really don't want to be hungover. We get a little freaky, then pass out.
Daily Total: $29.88

Day Six

7:20 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I snooze. Eventually, I shower, do my skin care and makeup, apply dry shampoo, and get dressed in black jeans with a grey sweater. Z. wants to take his motorcycle to work, even though it's chilly, and he gives me a ride to my car, which I left behind last night.
10:30 a.m. — I curb my hunger by having a coffee.
12 p.m. — At home for lunch, I search the fridge to see what's edible. We really have to get groceries tonight. I end up having a Caesar salad with a yogurt-based dressing, a few chicken gyozas, and an apple with peanut butter. It's a weird combo but slim pickings. I sit down and work on my school assignments until I need to go back to work.
5 p.m. — Our friend wants to have us over to barbecue for their birthday, so I grab a bottle of wine, and we bundle up to take the bike there. The guys barbecue up steaks, and we have potatoes and Caesar salad. I take extra potatoes to make up for not eating meat, and we follow dinner with vanilla ice cream cake.
9 p.m. — Once home, I feel like another drink, so I trick myself and have a ginger beer in a copper mug, so it feels like a Moscow mule. Z. raids the kitchen for more food. Then we go to bed, and he puts on a show, but I fall asleep right away.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — We wake up and cuddle. Z. gets up to make a shake and convinces me to join him at the gym, so I put on Lulus and a cropped hoodie.
10:30 a.m. — We hop in Z.'s car, and it's covered in dust, so he takes it to the car wash for a quick rinse. We then stop at a bagel shop for breakfast sandwiches, and I get an everything bagel with egg, Swiss cheese, and veggies. $13
11 a.m. — At the gym, we do an extra-long leg day. Z. wants to keep working out, but I'm over it so I just hang around and stretch.
1 p.m. — We stop for groceries: apples, strawberries, lemons, limes, bananas, mandarin oranges, asparagus, spinach, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, pizza crust, bread, eggs, chicken, ground turkey, black bean spaghetti, tortilla chips, a taco kit, canned beans, broth, corn, diced tomatoes, feta, cream, oat coffee creamer, yogurt, an egg salad sandwich for Z., and a bottle of red wine. The bill comes to $230, but I pay $80 for my share — Z. pays more because he eats more. $80
2 p.m. — After putting the groceries away, we chat and have strawberries and cappuccino yogurt followed by a coffee. I have a little bit of school work left for the week so I finish it off.
4 p.m. — It's windy but sunny so we bundle up and go on a motorcycle ride. Once we get out there, it's not so bad, and I enjoy the scenery. We wind through the hills of wine country, passed the vineyards alongside sparkling Okanagan Lake. I'm so lucky to live in this part of the country. I've moved away a few times, but this is why I keep coming back.
5:30 p.m. — I'm chilled to the bone when we get home, so I sit in front of the fireplace and decide to make chicken-tortilla soup to warm us up. We open the bottle of red, and I enjoy a glass while I cook. This was a weird week without much cooking, but I normally love making us dinner. I serve the soup with avocado and tortilla chips. It's so yummy and exactly what we needed.
7 p.m. — We pick out a movie, which seems like a strange move because it's still light out. I make popcorn with coconut oil and pour each of us another glass of wine. We get all cozy and watch Flatliners, which leans a lot more horror than I was expecting, but it's entertaining. We pause the movie so Z. can barbecue steaks for lunch tomorrow, and I bake us protein granola. When both are ready, we snack on the granola and finish the bottle of wine while we watch the rest of the movie.
9:15 p.m. — I do my nighttime routine and then put on The Sopranos for Z. because I'll be asleep in five minutes, tops.
Daily Total: $93
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