A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $57,000 Salary

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Today: a program officer working in government who makes $57,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on dry shampoo.
Warning: The diarist experiences grief and depression.
Occupation: Program Officer
Industry: Government 
Age: 22
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $57,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,470
Gender Identity: Woman
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $804 (This is for my half including parking. My roommate pays an additional $806.)
Car Loan: $400 (I've made some poor money choices. Roast me should you choose to). 
Car & Tenant Insurance: $220
Health Insurance: $15
Phone & Internet: $160
Bus Pass: $110
Charitable Donations: $35 (My therapy is covered through work, and I realize not everyone is as fortunate to have this service, so I donate to my local mental health association, which provides counselling for those who can't afford private sessions.)
Netflix: $0 (Thanks, Mom.)
Spotify Family Plan: $15.99 (split between five people)
TFSA: $50 (more if I have extra money at the end of the month)
Pension: $200 (automatically deducted from my paycheque)
Annual Expenses
Disney+: $89.99
DAZN Subscription: $75 (DAZN is a sports streaming service that my sister and I split as an annual birthday gift for our dad.)

Day One

7 a.m. — After two alarm snoozes, I've finally woken up. I should let you know before you proceed with this Money Diary: I suffer from extreme mental health issues (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder), and the weekend marked the painful one-year anniversary of a tragic death that I didn't handle well. I quickly get ready for work, brew my coffee, and hop on the bus.
8:45 a.m. — At work, breakfast consumed (a lemon-cranberry muffin and tomato-basil rice cakes), I chat with a co-worker about my difficult weekend. We've both experienced grief in the past year, and we decide to step out for a coffee ($2). The conversation becomes emotional, and I end up crying quite a bit. I don't have the mental capacity to be at work. Everyone is loud, and I'm unable to present myself as happy in any way, so I tell my boss I have to go home. He is understanding (I had told him the week prior about the anniversary), and I enter my sick day into the system before leaving. $2
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10:30 a.m. — After a 25-minute walk in the freezing cold, I make it to the bus stop that takes me home. The walk is refreshing but doesn't make me feel any less sad. On the bus, I try to call D., the person I'm seeing. He messages me back immediately to say he's in a meeting but wants to know if I am okay. I feel guilty for worrying him. My mental health has been poor, and D. has been incredibly helpful.
11a.m. — I get into my apartment and immediately crawl into bed. It's lights out for hours. I drift between sleep and sad semi-consciousness throughout the day. I'm not sure what I ate, but I do know no money was spent. Sorry this isn't an exciting Money Diary, but I feel it's important to be real about mental health struggles.
Daily Total: $2

Day Two

7 a.m. — The alarm for work is sounding, but I know I'm still not okay. I quickly email my boss and co-worker to let them know I won't be making it in. Back to sleep I go.
11:30 a.m. — Awake but filled with sadness, I try to be slightly productive. I take the time to thoroughly clean the apartment. Cleaning typically makes me feel better but, unfortunately, this time it doesn't. I spend the rest of the day sleeping and crying. Again, I'm not sure what I ate or did, but no money was spent.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

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6:45 a.m. — I'm up and feeling more like a functioning human being. Today is the day to get back on the horse and head to work. I have no choice, because I've successfully used all of my sick days for mental health–related reasons. When the dark cloud of depression takes over, there is truly no getting out of bed. I make coffee and hop onto the bus.
8:30 a.m. — I eat my breakfast and brew my second cup of coffee. I've been trying to reduce the amount of coffee I purchase at work by bringing in a French press or reusable K pods. It's crazy how much you save when you bring your own food and caffeinated bevvies. I'm disappointed but not surprised that my dollar store French press does a bad job and allows coffee grounds to make its way through the filter.
12:30 p.m. — Time for lunch! I eat leftover pork chops and rice I made for dinner yesterday. (I do sort of remember the blur that was my depression day.) I'm out of dry shampoo, so I run to the drug store in my building and pick up a fresh can, plus other assorted items. $7.88
4:30 p.m. — On my way home, I climb onto the bus and listen to my favourite podcast Best Friends, which makes me giggle and smile. It always surprises me when I can go from being sad in bed one day to being semi-happy the next.
6 p.m. — My tummy is rumbling, so it's time to scour the kitchen for food. I end up piecing together a delicious quesadilla which includes sautéed onion and red pepper in garlic, plus black beans spiced up with cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and S&P. I throw on some cheese and salsa, and it's the perfect meal to eat alongside a whole cucumber. The roomie and I end up sitting on the couch and having a heart-to-heart. Living with your best friend can be difficult at times, but it's moments like these that make me treasure her presence.
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Daily Total: $7.88

Day Four

7 a.m. — Coffee. Bus. It's Thursday.
8:30 a.m. — More coffee. This time I use a K cup.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is leftover quesadillas. I am a happy camper!
5 p.m. — I meet up with a friend for a quick dinner and shopping. We haven't seen each other in months, so it's a beautiful moment when we finally catch up. I love the type of friendships that let you pick up wherever you left off, even if you don't see one another often. I treat myself to A&W ($13.42), then we hit the shops. My friend makes a comment about needing socks, but I know she's on a budget and won't buy any herself. I grab her a couple pairs along with a fun little headband (plus a matching one for me), and a new T-shirt for myself ($32.97). We end up at a new shop that carries some of the favourite things I used to eat and use when I lived in Asia. I get overly excited and end up spending $26.66 on assorted random things. No regrets at all. $73.05
8 p.m. — I'm home from the mall and ready for the night. My roommate lets me know she wants to celebrate her upcoming birthday at a local arcade. Luckily enough, the spot she's chosen has a Groupon (400 credits for $20)! I have many wild Groupon stories, but I know for a fact this one isn't going to lead me into anything too wild. $20
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Daily Total: $93.05

Day Five

7 a.m. — Awake, coffee, bus.
8:15 a.m. — I grab a quick coffee and a muffin from the café in my building. I'm a creature of habit; you will always find me eating a lemon-cranberry muffin and drinking a vanilla coffee. $4.60
1:30 p.m. — It's a very busy day, which means not a ton of time for food. I eat the rice cakes I have stashed at work while waiting for my next series of meetings to begin. I'm going out to dinner with my family later, so I plan to alleviate my hunger then.
5:45 p.m. — I meet up with my dad, sister, and my sister's boyfriend. Everyone is hangry. We feast on delicious Vietnamese food while catching up. I truly love and cherish my family. After everything that's happened recently, I'm incredibly thankful for everything they've done for me. I pay for dinner because I almost never get to treat. $128
8 p.m. — It's a crazy Friday night. I load $10 onto my laundry card and wash my clothes. I make the night slightly more entertaining by eating edibles with the roomie. I also order edibles for myself and for her as a birthday gift. All said and done, the edibles come to $77.77 (what a lucky number) $87.77
Daily Total: $220.37

Day Six

9 a.m. — I'm up and excited! Today is the day that the boy D. and I are staying at a hotel. It was my treat as his birthday gift, and there is much prep to be done. I make a quick cup of tea and begin my day.
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11:45 a.m. — Whoops, I sliced my thumb open. It's bleeding quite a bit. I consider going to the ER but end up putting on a tight bandage and hoping for the best.
3:50 p.m. — I wait for a bus to meet D. at the liquor store near our hotel. The weather is terrible, which means the bus never shows. After a long and cold wait, I roll up late and apologize profusely. D. kindly warms my hands with his face, and I run into the liquor store to grab a bottle of white wine. We walk over to the hotel and check in. The hotel was a steal: over 50% off on Hotwire. $10.58
6:30 p.m. — After enjoying the hotel a bit, if you catch my drift, D. and I get ready for dinner. I love any occasion to dress up and feel pretty. We dine on delicious food paired with tasty beer. After a fight over who gets to pick up the bill, D. kindly pays for dinner as a thank you for the birthday gift. We go back to the hotel room and enjoy our wine and all the things that come with staying in a hotel, like watching crappy cable. I check my bandage and it looks like my sliced thumb will live to see another day.
Daily Total: $10.58

Day Seven

10:30 a.m. — We've been up for a while, but it takes time to drag our hungover butts out of bed and source food. I treat us to a classic Canadian breakfast: Tim Hortons. We hop on the bus to my apartment where I will then give D. a ride home. $12
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11:15 a.m. — God bless having a man in your life who helps you clear off your snow-covered car because — oh Lordy — was my poor vehicle stuck in its spot. With a push from D., we're out and driving. I drop him off and decide I'm too hungover to face my parking spot, so I drive out to my parents' house where I proceed to take the best three-hour nap of my life.
5 p.m. — I'm up and watching football with my dad. He feeds me dinner, so I'm a happy person. We all hang out as a family and cheer on Kansas City.
8 p.m. — I need to go home and prepare for the workday that's fast approaching. After a fairly decent drive back to my apartment, I'm treated to the beautiful site of a cleared parking spot (god bless you, property management company). I unpack my bag from the night before and get my ducks in a row. I realize I'm running low on household essentials and go on Amazon to grab them. Next thing you know, I have more in my cart than expected, including a brush to pick up cat hair, but I decide to treat myself. A whopping $52 later, I'm set. $52
10:30 p.m. — Time for bed. I take Advil and melatonin. I never used to take anything for pain relief, but the thing they truly never tell you about mental health is how much physical pain is associated with it. Even the strongest meds don't help. (For anyone wondering, I do take medication to help treat all the fun mental health problems I have, plus I do therapy through the employee counselling services provided by the Government of Canada.) I lay in bed worried for the week ahead, but I have high hopes that everything will be okay.
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Daily Total: $64
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