A Week In Winnipeg, MB, On A $59,320 Income

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Today: a research coordinator working in health who makes $59,320 a year spends some of her money this week on Blundstones.

Occupation: Research Coordinator
Industry: Health
Age: 25
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Salary: $48,700
Tutoring Income: $2,820 (I picked up extra tutoring shifts to bring in more money after I bought a house this past summer.)
Rental Income: $7,800 (I rent out the second bedroom in my house.)
Net Worth: $32,800 (Assets: house = $241,000, RRSP = $6,400, pension = $20,000. Liabilities: mortgage = $211,000, line of credit = $10,000, student loan = $4,700, family loan = $8,900)
Debt: $234,600 (See liabilities above.)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,216
Tutoring Paycheque Amount (1x/month): $235
Rent Cheque Amount: $650
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $907
Property Taxes: $247
Utilities & Insurance: $293
Student Loan: $57 (It's interest-free.)
Family Loan: $1,000
Line of Credit: $205
Phone: $49
Pension: $137 (deducted from my paycheque)
Additional Vacation Time Purchase: $50 (deducted from my paycheque)
Health & Dental Insurance: $7 (deducted from my paycheque)
Disability Insurance: $26 (deducted from my paycheque)
Union Dues: $18 (deducted from my paycheque)
Charity: $30
Netflix, Spotify, Canadaland & The New York Times: $20 (I split some of these with my siblings.)
Car Insurance: $80 (I share a vehicle with my sibling, and this is for my part of the insurance.)
Christmas Savings: $50 (I try to set aside money so as to not get caught at the end of the year and overspend.)
Emergency Savings: $108
Vet Savings: $130
Gym: $36 (I'm trying to support my favourite local gym during COVID.)

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?
Both of my parents went to college and wanted their kids to have university as an option. They saw it as the pathway to a better life. I earned my bachelor of science degree, and I'm currently studying for the MCAT. My parents were able to cover one year of my education, and the remainder was covered by student loans, scholarships, a $7,500 inheritance from my grandmother, and income from working at least two jobs at any given time. I worked pretty much full time from my second to fourth years of school.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents introduced us to Rich Dad Poor Dad and the concept of savings, assets, and liabilities. They did the best with the knowledge they had available.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at a Dairy Queen. I got it to have spending money. My parents only covered the essentials, like food and board, and I was dying for a cell phone and clothes.

Did you worry about money growing up?
It always felt like there was scarcity in my house, and my parents were constantly stressed about money, especially during the 2008 recession. I felt worried and knew things weren't good but didn't know what to do with that worry.

Do you worry about money now?
I'm in the most debt I've ever been in, and I loathe that I owe money to a relative who helped me purchase my house this past summer. I vacillate between worry and knowing, objectively, that everything is fine. I'm great at budgeting (thanks, YNAB!), and even though there's a lot of learning involved in owning a home, I know that I'm on the right track. If I can keep up my momentum, I'll have my debt paid down by the end of next year.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
My second year of university. If I had to, I could live with my parents, although they live in a different city, so that would require a real lifestyle change. There's no one who could step in financially for me in a major way.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My grandmother died when I was in university, and I received $7,500 that went toward schooling and living expenses.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I'm back from my boyfriend, N.'s, place, and my roommate has graciously given my dog his morning pill and fed the cat. The dog and I go out for a walk, and I'm at my desk by 8 a.m. to start day one million of WFH. To burn off pandemic dread, I take a break for an online workout from my local gym. Then I have a shower followed by a face mask (Biologique Recherche’s Masque Vivant), and my skin-care routine of the BR Lotion P50T, placenta serum, placenta cream, and iS Clinical sunscreen. All of these products have been splurges during the pandemic, and my skin has never looked better.
9 a.m. — Given how bad the pandemic is here, I've been looking forward to Christmas shopping — both the actual gifting and supporting my favourite local retailers. For my sister, I buy a gift card online for an aesthetician ($50), then local beers for my roommate ($25), and homemade cards from a friend ($30). $105
12 p.m. — After a morning of meetings and research, I finally buy new Blundstones. My current pair is over four years old and worse for wear because they're my go-to shoes for much of the year. I buy from a local store and do a masked pickup. COVID cases are out of control today, there's an outbreak at the care home my great aunt lives in, and it's hard not to feel deep despair. I know I'm doing what I can by being at home, volunteering to do contact tracing, and writing letters to politicians, but I wish I could do more. N. is a few months away from getting his MD, and he's on rotations in a hospital and tells me about what he sees at work. I'm furious at our provincial leadership, which has so profoundly dropped the ball during COVID. I'm also furious at our federal leadership: Where is the stimulus that would make it easier for people to stay home as needed? $291
5 p.m. — Having spent most of the afternoon enraged and wrapping up work tasks, I head to my friend's house to pick up the cards from her mailbox and stop for gas on the way home. Before the pandemic, I rarely drove, and I feel privileged to be able to avoid public transit now. $20
7 p.m. — Luckily, N. lives alone, so I can be his designated visitor. After doing laundry and studying for the MCAT, I go over to his place, where I continue to study because his day went sideways, and he has important meetings that have stretched into the evening. When he's done, we grab groceries to make soondubu, spicy Korean soft tofu stew, tomorrow. We mess around, shower, and I do my evening routine: BR Lait U, Complexe Iribiol, Crème Dermopurifiante, and my TactuPump Forte.
Daily Total: $416

Day Two

12 p.m. — After a very long morning lounge, we exit the bedroom to make the soondubu, which turns out wonderfully. I'm super-glad that my roommate is OK doing pet care when I'm away. I think they're happy to have the house to themselves, and there's no pressure for me to rush home. After the meal, I learn my relative in the care home has tested negative, and all positive cases are being moved into a separate wing. That gives me some peace of mind. My mom was freaking out and talking about going to provide care. It's gotten so bad here, and so many personal care homes are under-staffed that (untrained) family members have been asked to step in and provide frontline care. My mom is healthy, but I don't want her getting COVID.
2 p.m. — I do a spin workout at N.'s place. It's a sweaty session, and I hop in the shower afterward, then go home to spend time with my dog, FaceTime a friend, and do laundry.
7 p.m. — N. picks me up to get groceries because my sibling is using our shared car (a masked drop off was done). Someone broke into his last night, and he didn't realize it until he came to pick me up. It seems like whoever it was slept in it, which is sad. Nothing was taken other than a blanket. It's always disconcerting to have someone in your space, and N. is clearly a little shaken.
9 p.m. — We chat while he showers, and I do my evening skin-care routine, then we break to study. I retire to bed around 11 p.m. and watch The Crown until N. joins me.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — N. and I are finally out of bed, and we order Korean chicken. Typically, we cook together more than we eat out, but it's nice to support local restaurants. I do another spin workout before the food arrives and help N. record a video for an extracurricular commitment of his. The food is delicious, and N. pays ($46).
3 p.m. — I'm at home doing laundry for N., because my house has laundry, and the shared ones in his building are iffy. I make tofu sabzi for the week and eggnog cookies — the first holiday baking I endeavour to do. The COVID new infection numbers are down slightly today, but hospitalizations set a new record, and personal care homes are literally pleading for volunteers to feed residents. Our premier is on the news not taking any responsibility for the current state of things, but I don't have as much energy to be outraged today.
8:30 p.m. — I'm back at N.'s place. We met online in September, and I'm meeting some of his friends virtually for the first time. (Our first date was an outdoor walk, and we started spending time together indoors once we figured out our exposures.) I'm nervous even though I shouldn't be. My social skills are rusty because I never meet new people anymore! We put away his laundry, I do my skin-care routine, and I get into bed while he does more work.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7:40 a.m. — After not the greatest sleep (N. and I were up late talking, and he lives on a noisy street with traffic), I'm back at home to bundle up, walk and feed the dog, and get ready for work. I make an eggnog coffee and scramble egg whites to put on a slice of homemade bread with tofu sabzi.
12 p.m. — I'm super-tired and having a difficult time staying focused on work. There's a lunch meeting, so I sign on and learn about the work of a group that's parallel to mine. Afterward, I make a Thai salad from Oh She Glows, and scarf it down while browsing Canadian Tire for an air conditioner cover, fly traps (I have a very persistent fruit fly problem I need to get on top of), and window insulation kits because my house is old and drafty. Turns out, there's no room in my budget for more home maintenance until next month, so I hold off rather than stretch my budget. The daily COVID update is out, and we've broken our provincial record with over 500 new cases. The premier is on national news asking Rosemary Barton why she doesn't have solutions, as though she's the elected official responsible for solutions.
4 p.m. — I remain super-tired and out of it. Part of this feeling comes down to the lack of daylight this time of year. I take the dog for a walk as the sun sets, then feed him and the cat. I do my evening skin-care routine and change into the comfiest clothes in preparation for two hours of tutoring. This is my online side gig, and it's been busier than usual because of COVID. The extra money is helping me pay back my relatives quickly.
8 p.m. — My sibling needs the car, so I make a run for a few groceries and ingredients for two recipes I'll be making this week: caulifredo and smoky quinoa and mushrooms. I get spinach, quinoa, coffee, sushi, eggnog, milk, onion, pasta, cauliflower, and mushrooms. Then it's home to read in bed and chat with N., who is finally out of rotation on a ward with a COVID outbreak. I love that we talk every day. $54.15
Daily Total: $54.15

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up later than I wanted, but I needed the rest. I walk the dog, make breakfast (coffee, eggnog, an egg with chives on toast), and sit at my work computer. All of the Black Friday sales are tempting, but I don't indulge because that would mean pulling from budget categories I don't want to raid. I don't always have this much self-control, but since I bought the house, it's easier to remember that I don't want to sacrifice my bigger priorities for mindless shopping. I take time to update my budget on YNAB.
12 p.m. — It's still not the most productive workday, but I'm feeling better than yesterday. I do an at-home boot camp workout over lunch and feel good. It's hard to find the motivation to work out, and I have to remind myself how much better I feel when I move my body. After, I have a shower, do my morning skin-care routine plus a face mask (Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant), and get ready for my next meeting with a coworker I haven't spoken to in a long time. We catch up, have a good meeting, and commiserate about the pandemic.
4 p.m. — I'm done work and whip up a vegan caulifredo pasta, walk the dog with my roommate, and feed him and the cat. I'm home in time for tutoring and surprisingly sleepy by 5 p.m. Damn, these short days.
8 p.m. — I'm done tutoring, and I munch on eggnog cookies and pickles(?) while settling in to study. I wrap up by 9 p.m. and do my skin-care routine while watching Bridget Jones's Diary, an OG classic if you ask me. N. calls me to chat, and we talk until 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — I was up in the night twice not feeling so great and having anxiety that it's COVID. I eventually remember the fact that my stomach probably didn't love the pickle-cookie combo. I throw on sweats to take the dog for a walk and make myself oatmeal with coconut flakes, pepitas, and berries. I catch up on emails and plot out my lunch workout. I'm still very tempted by Black Friday shopping but remind myself of my priorities, including building my emergency fund and paying off debt.
12 p.m. — I break to do an aerobics workout, shower, throw in laundry, and tidy up before sitting back down at my desk with my trusty caulifredo and tea. My relative in the personal care home has now tested positive for COVID, and the staff can't even confirm the day that she was tested, just that she has mild symptoms. My heart sinks, and I feel overwhelmed by the fact that this whole situation is beyond my family's control.
4 p.m. — I attempt to make homemade bagels. Sadly, I think my yeast is too old, and they barely rise. N. calls me after a long day at the hospital, and we catch up. I tell him about my relative. He's been working the ICU lately, and he's empathetic.
8 p.m. — I'm finished tutoring one of my favourite students, and I switch to studying bio. Around 10 p.m., I'm in bed reading, surrounded by my pets.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I enjoy waking up with my sleepy pets. I throw on sweats to run the dog out. While we're walking, my neighbour drives by and lets me know he thinks he saw my (indoor) cat in the back lane. I rush home only to find him in the house and am relieved. I make the mistake of logging into LinkedIn where — low and behold — an ex-boyfriend has messaged me to once again apologize for his behaviour. I've repeatedly told him not to contact me, so the day is off to a weird and uneasy start. I grab a sad bagel from yesterday and an eggnog coffee and dig into work.
12 p.m. — The message from my ex has me feeling rather off. It's so disrespectful for him to keep contacting me to unload his emotional burdens. I attempt a workout, but my heart isn't in it, so I eat another bagel and keep working, pausing to take in the new pandemic numbers, which are bad.
4 p.m. — I sit on the board of a non-profit, and I make some calls to donors. I've been putting off the task, but they're important and easy calls to make, and I'm glad to have them done. Then, I do a tutoring session and a FaceTime call with a dear friend I've been missing. After that, I have a chat with N., and I'm off to bed!
Daily Total: $0
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