A Week In Victoria, BC, On A $53,000 Salary

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Today: a sales associate working in real estate who makes $53,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Bioderma micellar water.
Occupation: Sales Associate
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 27
Location: Victoria, BC
Salary: $53,000
Paycheque Amount (Biweekly): $1,116 (plus commission paid every month or two)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $820 (This is my half, including strata fees. My sister and I bought a condo together for about $300,000.)
Hydro: $30
Internet: $38
Car Insurance: $135
Spotify: $15 (I pay for a family account in exchange for my parent's Netflix login.)
Phone: $52
Dance Classes: $70
Yoga/Barre Studio Membership: $84
BC Medical Services Plan: $32.50
Benefits Co-Pay: $18 (This just covers long term disability; everything else is paid for by my employer.)
RRSP: $90 (At the end of last year, I deposited a lump sum of $4,000 into a company-matched RRSP. I'll probably do the same this year.)
TFSA: $110
Savings: $200–$250 (Between $50 to $100 goes into a travel fund; $100 goes into an emergency fund. Any extra money at the end of the month goes toward a deposit on a second investment condo.)

Day One

7:45 a.m. — I ease out of bed and make a coffee with milk. I slowly get ready for work and do chores while listening to the Ongoing History of New Music podcast. Breakfast is a slice of toast with avocado and fresh sage.
10:45 a.m. — I stop to pick up milk for the office on my way to work. My hours are sweet, usually 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The only downside is working weekends and holidays when we're putting together offers, but it's definitely worth the trade off. $2.12
2:30 p.m. — Work is super-quiet today, so I fiddle with my Mint app while I have leftover salad. My paycheque this week should include one of my bonuses, and I love pre-planning how to divide it. I budget my month just on my base salary and use my commission for savings. It's comforting to know if sales are totally dead, I can still live normally. Gotta watch that lifestyle creep.
5:15 p.m. — My friend and I are going to a Metric concert tonight, so I hurry straight home to meet her. I make us tequila cocktails before we go for dinner. I get a veggie burger and fries with the best basil aioli, plus a gimlet-style cocktail. $28.58
7:30 p.m. — My friend's office is less than a block away from the arena, so she leaves her car there. Yay for free parking! The opening act, July Talk, is the main reason we're here, so we race in and get as close to the front as possible. They put on an awesome show, as usual.
9:30 p.m. — My friend buys me an overpriced can of Mike's Hard Lemonade ($8.25) to pay me back for something... I can't actually remember what. It's nice of her to remember, though.
11:15 p.m. — We walk home after the show. Our ears are ringing, but we had a blast. My friend is spending the night, so I get us a couple glasses of water and we wind down.
Daily Total: $30.70

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Waking up is hard to do. I brew coffee to ease the pain.
8:45 a.m. — Breakfast at home is not going to happen. We go to a cute café that recently opened in my neighbourhood. It's so gorgeous and warm inside — a welcome reprieve from the pouring rain. We get Americanos and veggie-egg breakfast sandwiches. $12.53
1:30 p.m. — I didn't bring a proper lunch to work today, so an apple and a homemade Lara bar tide me over.
5:30 p.m. — Home time! I would usually go to a dance class or barre workout on Thursdays, but I have to attend my condo's annual strata meeting. The last one ran well over two hours. Fingers crossed it will be a quick one. I make a dinner of spinach salad and cheese tortellini.
7:15 p.m. — After a surprisingly quick meeting, we are free! My sister and I watch an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race. We are 100% cheering for Brooke Lynn Hytes! Queen of the North! After, I wash my face and put on a Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, then hop in the shower and crank the water as hot as I can manage. I finish off my skincare routine with an Origins Essence Lotion, Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist, Cetaphil moisturizer and a few drops of The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil. That mask certainly did its job. My face is feeling sensitive but sooooo silky-smooth. I go to bed with wet hair because I can't be bothered.
Daily Total: $12.53

Day Three

7:40 a.m. — I neglected to set an alarm last night, so I wake up in a panic and get ready in about two minutes for my Friday yoga class. The bedhead is real, yo. I manage to make it to class with plenty of time to spare and snag my favourite spot. I'm pleasantly surprise to see my friend is in this class, too. She works for the same company as me but in a different office. It's been fun getting to know her. Making new friends as an adult is hard!
9:15 a.m. — Class was fantastic, as usual. My friend and I grab bagels and a coffee after, my treat. I don't typically eat out this much. Hopefully, I'll find time for meal prep this weekend. $14.72
1:45 p.m. — Friday's are usually my day off, but I agree to meet a real estate agent at my office to tour around his clients from Calgary. I'm in and out within an hour and back in my comfy clothes. I don't plan on leaving the house for the rest of the day.
3:15 p.m. — I log onto my online banking app and see that my paycheque has hit the account. I transfer $616.11 to my sis for the mortgage payment. (The strata fees and our personal condo savings are paid at the beginning of the month.) We bought our condo in 2016 because we were renting a horrible little house with a third roommate and wanted to find something nicer. We were able to buy with an inheritance from our grandmother ($10,000 each) and another $12,000 each from our savings. I also transfer $400 to pay off my credit card. I use a cash-back credit card for most of my purchases, and pay the balance every two weeks. I usually get about $120 to $150 back at the end of the year. I transfer a bit extra into my travel fund. My friend and I are going to Spain and Portugal next spring, and I'm ramping up the savings effort. $400
6:30 p.m. — After watching Beyoncé's Homecoming doc on Netflix (amazing, totally recommend, 10/10), I cook brown rice ramen noodles and toss them with sautéed broccoli, green beans, and corn. I've been trying to recreate my favourite Thai noodle dishes, so I mix in a scrambled egg and some sort of miso-soy concoction. It has little resemblance to any Thai dish, but it's edible.
8:30 p.m. — I get sucked into a YouTube vortex, watching about two hours on the dangers of green wallpaper in the Victorian era. (Apparently, it was laced with arsenic and killed several people!) Great use of time. I also enjoy banana bread I found in the freezer. What a crazy Friday night!
10:30 — I do my bedtime routine and fall asleep in a minute flat.
Daily Total: $414.72

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — No alarm set this morning! I wake up naturally, and it feels so good.
10:30 a.m. — The usual routine: coffee, breakfast (the last slice of banana bread), and get ready for work. I bring yogurt and granola for lunch, plus an apple and cucumber slices for snacking.
5:15 p.m. — We had quite a few clients come into the office, and I was completely surprised when my coworker started shutting down for the day. I thought it was still early afternoon.
5:30 p.m. — I drive over to a friend's place for our weekly dinner. A group of us are watching/re-watching season 1 of Game of Thrones. We all have varying levels of knowledge about the show, which has made for an interesting viewing experience. I brought a bottle of wine a couple weeks ago, and we finally crack it. We also enjoy homemade quesadillas.
11:45 p.m. — We finish season 1! I go home and have a bit of laptop time in bed before falling asleep. I've been trying to be more aware of my sleep hygiene, but it's hard to break phone habits when I already fall asleep so quickly and solidly.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8:15 a.m. — I stay in bed until my sister pokes her head into my bedroom and brings me a cup of coffee. Her and her boyfriend are chilling in their PJs, watching The Great British Bake Off, so I join them for the second half of the episode. I booked a barre class for this morning and now I'm not feeling it, but I go to avoid the cancellation fee. It's usually a good sweat sesh, and once I arrive, I cheer up.
11:30 a.m. — Because it's Sunday, I go into work a bit later than usual. We're expecting a slow day. I bring along an almond butter and strawberry jam sandwich. My sister and I make a few giant batches of berry freezer jam every summer, and the strawberries from the local farms are pretty spectacular. I could drink this jam straight from the jar.
4:05 p.m. — It's dead-quiet at work, so my manager tells to me to leave early. You don't have to ask twice! I stop at Thrifty Foods to pick up dessert ingredients for a family dinner at my parent's house: a small container of cream, strawberries, and a couple of kiwis. $9.65
4:30 p.m. — Made it to my parents' house and have a quick cuddle with my dog. My mum and I share him, but he lives mostly at my parents' place because they've got a big backyard and lots of wildlife for him to bark at. He comes for sleepovers at my condo occasionally. I have a glass of wine and catch up with my parents while whipping up a pavlova.
10:30 p.m. — I'm stuffed from a delicious dinner. After all the food and wine, I have no intention of going home. I keep a few necessities here for when I spend the night. My pup knows the off-the-furniture rules don't apply when I'm over, so he hops onto the bed for snuggles.
Daily Total: $9.65

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — Coffee and breakfast with my parents. We slice up fruit and toast hot cross buns. I've been experimenting with making hot cross buns from scratch, but they're hit or miss, so we go for store-bought today. The ones from the bakery are just as good (okay fine, they're better than mine). I pack up leftovers for lunch and go back to my place before work. I'm feeling rough after the three glasses of wine last night. Is this what growing up is all about? I'd like to opt out, please.
10:20 a.m. — I watch an episode of The Office on my laptop, and play around with makeup before work. I usually keep things simple: CC cream, highlighter, cream blush, mascara, and eyebrow gel. Since I've got time, I pull out my rarely used ColourPop palette and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder.
2:30 p.m. — A few people come in to get information on the development, plus a nice guy who came in a week ago returned for more details. Sounds promising! I could totally go for a coffee and pastry, but I resist the urge. I've been keeping my coffee spending under $25 a month.
5:45 p.m. — I stop to pick up Greek yogurt, milk, spinach, greens for Thai stir-fry, avocado, apples, granola, cheese-and-chive buns, and a deeply discounted Cadbury Creme Egg. I'll transfer cash from the shared bank account to cover the food that both my sis and I eat. We contribute $50 each per month for groceries and it makes sharing a fridge and pantry a lot easier. $35.25
6:15 p.m. — I've got a fairly quick turnaround before my yoga class. I munch a cheese-and-chive bun while I get ready. I've got enough time to walk to the studio, and the rain has stopped.
8 p.m. — Ahhhhh, post-yoga bliss. I love this restore class. It's challenged me to change my perception of yoga and fitness. When I was a kid/teen/adult, I was always in dance classes, and my attitude towards flexibility was always more is better, push past the pain. Restorative-style yoga has been so helpful for allowing me to slow down and think about what I'm asking my body to do. It's turned Mondays into Mental Health Mondays.
8:30 p.m. — Sis is watching an old episode of Father Brown, so I grab a bowl of Angie's popcorn and join her. I've missed significant plot points and have never watched this show before, but it's kinda cute. I wind down with a hot bath and snuggle into bed around 11.
Daily Total: $35.25

Day Seven

7:40 a.m. — Another day, another snooze button sesh. No coffee this morning. My sister was supposed to set it last night but she didn't, and now I'm too stubborn to brew a pot for myself.
8:15 a.m. — I get dressed for work (I swear, I usually work five days a week, not seven) and struggle with my hair for way too long. I recently had about 15 centimetres cut off and I'm still figuring out how to style it. I eventually give up and pull it into a ponytail.
10 a.m. — Before heading into work, I stop in at a mall to try on pants. One of my dance teachers is ordering outfits for an upcoming tap performance and wants our sizing. I text her my size and pop into Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up Q-Tips, La Roche Posay sunscreen, and a couple of bottles of Bioderma micellar water. ($72.11) Then I make a quick stop at Tim's for a coffee and Timbit. ($2.45) I'm tempted to pick up a salad from The Chopped Leaf, but I still have food at work. $74.56
2:10 p.m. — Lunch is more yogurt and granola. It's a busy day of following up with clients.
5:30 p.m. — I'm babysitting for my dance teacher tonight so I drive over straight from work. She makes mini pizzas for the kids and I. I've know these kiddos since they were both babies, and I love their crazy personalities. We spend the whole evening joking around and giggling. After putting the them to bed, I have snuggle time with their dog. I've pet sit him before, and we're close friends. I enjoy a glass of wine with the kid's mom once she's home, and we chat about dance, as usual. She sends me an e-transfer for $50.
9:45 p.m. — On my way home, I stop for gas. Prices are supposed to go up again. OMG, how?? It's already $1.61 a litre. Half a tank is $42.50. I cringe while I pay for it. Once I'm home, I do a quick version of my skincare regime and go right to bed. $42.50
Daily Total: $117.06
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