A Week In The Okanagan, BC, On A $110,000 Joint Income

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Today: a sales rep working in food and beverage who has a $110,000 joint income and spends some of her money this week on cupcakes to celebrate her baby's first week at daycare.

Occupation: Sales Rep
Industry: Food & Beverage
Age: 38
Location: The Okanagan, BC
My Salary: $60,000
My Husband's Salary: $50,000
Net Worth: $664,000 (This includes our home, savings, and investments of $106,000. My husband, T., and I own our house together.)
Debt: $187,065 (mortgage)
My Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,050
My Husband's Paycheque Amount: $1,740
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,400
Utilities: $230
Internet: $90
Netflix: $15
Spotify: $0 (We're on a shared family plan that others pay in exchange for using our Netflix subscription.)
Childcare: $1,740 (This is for full-time daycare for two children. Insert gasp here — it's so expensive!)
Health & Dental Benefits: $0 (covered by work)
Life & Critical Illness Insurance: $299.06. (I carry a hereditary BRCA genetic mutation that gives me a high risk of developing cancer, so I purchased critical illness insurance many years ago to cover what feels like an almost inevitable outcome. I've since doubled down on our life insurance, realizing there would be no way for either my spouse or me to float both our kids on a single salary if one of us were to pass away.)
RESPs: $400 (We contribute $200 a month for each child's education.)
RRSPs: $600
Annual Expenses
Car Insurance: $1,406
Home Insurance: $2,600
Property Taxes: $986

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?
I always knew I would need to pursue a university education to be able to secure a good career. My parents were extremely supportive and paid my tuition and rent. I covered books and food through a co-op program at university that involved working every other term throughout my five-year degree, so there was an opportunity to earn a decent income.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked for a family member's retail store when I was 15, and I always had summer jobs and part-time jobs in high school.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. My parents budgeted weekly with paper money in an envelope, and it always felt like our family finances were strained. In retrospect, my parents made a relatively decent income, particularly for our small town, where there was a considerable amount of poverty. I think the sense of scarcity was a reflection of my parents spending frugally, as if money were scarce, as opposed to money actually being scarce.

Do you worry about money now?
All the time. Who doesn't!? I haven't been able to shake the idea that money is scarce, so I always ensure that I'm making more money than I'm spending and make a concerted effort to save.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
After graduating from university at age 24. I did Grade 13 in Ontario followed by a five-year bachelor's program, so I got out a little later than most.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, I received an inheritance. We spent some of it on our efforts to have a family, including $20,000 in adoption fees that we can't even claim on tax returns because we never received a placement. (What a financial kick in the guts for families trying to adopt through government-appointed adoption agencies.) We invested the rest in RRSPs and savings (no fun, I know).

Day One

8 a.m. — I'm back at work after maternity leave, and it's my baby's first week in daycare with her brother. T. drops off the kids, so I can get an early start on my *paid* workday. That's a parenting jab. I’ve been up since 5:45 a.m. doing my *unpaid* job: cleaning, feeding kids, packing lunches and clothes for a day of rain and snow, and wrangling everyone out of the house — all before getting to work on time. It's a LOT of work to manage two young kids alongside a full-time job, but I try to keep perspective on the issue because T. and I struggled to conceive for five years before having our first child. The process included a miscarriage, countless fertility treatments, and fully pursuing domestic adoption, which was a huge investment of our time and money. We're among the incredibly lucky ones who were able to have a family after all that.
9 a.m. — I pop into the local coffee shop for my regular Americano, then knuckle down for an hour and a half of work. I’m in sales, so I would normally be on the road meeting clients, but I’m mostly office-based now, with a small team. I break for a doctor's appointment. Good news: The health concern has cleared up, plus there was no wait time, so I’m ahead of schedule. $3.60
12 p.m. — I stop by a grocery store to grab a to-go salad and staples for the kids' lunches. Their daycare doesn't provide any food, so I prep and pack it all myself. I get massive jars of peanut butter and jam, bananas, a bag of kiwis, baby rice rusks, baby food pouches, vitamin D drops, and prepared Indian food pouches to make for an easy dinner this week. $79.80
12:30 p.m. — I'm back at work. Between meetings, I eat my salad and track my online orders (nothing too exciting: tinted moisturizer and leggings I ordered weeks ago and are taking ages to ship). I see that the daycare payment came out of my account today. This is the first month we're paying for two kids, so we've parted with $1,740. We applied for a government childcare subsidy but didn't qualify because we earned a few thousand too much. I swear, I’m not complaining about earning too much money, but looking back, we would've been better off earning about $2,000 less, which would allow us to qualify for something like $5,000 in childcare subsidy. I may be the only person in the world who is excited for tax time this year, so our 2020 income can be registered in the system. Between maternity leave and COVID shutdowns, our combined earnings were a lot less than usual, and we can reapply. If we don’t get the subsidy sorted, it’s shaping up to cost us over $20,000 for childcare this year, which is insane.  
4 p.m. — I wrap up the workday and pick up the kids early. At home, I make dinner for the baby and set up the toddler for playtime, so I can make both of their lunches for tomorrow, dinner for T. and me (quick veggie chili), and feed the dog. She’s an old small breed, and we have a nice big yard, so she can get out and exercise herself. We lost our other dog last year, and this one has definitely slowed down without her companion.
6 p.m. — The baby is tired from her first day in daycare, so she goes to sleep super-easily. The toddler, not so much. After a 90-minute bedtime routine, we finally get him to sleep, then end the workday (paid and unpaid) by preparing for our tax returns, so we can hit the ground running when we receive our T4s.
8:30 p.m. — T. and I sit down to watch a couple of episodes of Wentworth while I get in some Pilates and physio exercises. I fractured my leg a couple of months ago, and I've put on a good 10 pounds since I couldn't be active. I’m trying to fit in exercise wherever I can. Around 10 p.m., we head off to bed, and I read a few chapters of my new novel, Talking Animals by Joni Murphy, to help turn off my brain.

Daily Total: $83.40

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — The baby is awake, and T. gets up to give her a bottle and get her back to sleep. Her bedroom is downstairs, so a silver lining of my leg injury is getting to stay in bed because I can't hobble down the stairs to her quite as often.
6:30 a.m. — Our toddler starts screaming in his bed (for attention, he’s in a phase), so I’m up with him nice and early. T. and I have coffee and juggle parenting duties with getting ourselves showered and ready. We carpool to daycare, drop off the kids, then we each head off to work. I managed to pack a bunch of groceries from our fridge to take to the office, so I can make a salad for lunch. I usually skip breakfast. Coffee is my fuel, but it also makes me anxious, so I make tea at work and have an apple.  
12 p.m. — I make a surprisingly yummy whatever-is-left-in-the-fridge kind of salad, then get back to work.  
4 p.m. — T. and I carpool to pick up the kids. It’s been a stressful day for him, so I get the kids fed and make their lunches while he takes a minute.
6 p.m. — T. takes the baby to bed, then we watch a few YouTube videos with our toddler (he’s obsessed with animal fails at the moment) until we turn off the TV and he chucks a tantrum. We read stories with him, then get him in bed. He resists for about an hour, finding any excuse imaginable to get up (he’s too hot with covers on, he doesn’t want his water bottle in his room, etc.) before he finally falls asleep. I organize an online grocery order for pick up and head off to bed to read. I can’t fall asleep, so I put on the Meditative Story podcast, which usually does the trick.  

Daily Total: $0

Day Three

4 a.m. — The toddler crawls into our bed, on top of the covers, and I’m essentially awake from this point on.
5:30 a.m. — The baby is awake now, and T. gets her a bottle. I’m up closer to 7 a.m., and then we start the morning routine: coffee for the adults, breakfast for the kids and dog, tag-team getting the kids and ourselves ready. We’re heading out surprisingly not too late for daycare drop-off and work.
8:15 a.m. — I know it's going to be a big day for T., so on my way into the office, I buy him and his staff coffees, as well as one for myself. $18
12 p.m. — On my lunch break, I pop out to grab lunch for T. and his team, which he'll expense. I also pick up a few staples for myself: salad for lunch, blueberries, and chicken for dinner later on in the week, plus snacks for the kids' lunches. Back at work, I pack the groceries in the fridge and sit at my desk with my salad. $34.50
4:15 p.m. — I leave work early to pick up the kids from daycare before the baby gets too tired and hungry. By 4:30 p.m., we're on our way home, listening to my son’s current song obsession, "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley. We get in the house (me, two kids, and the groceries), and my son searches for his dad, who is on the exercise bike watching the insurgence on the US Capitol. Our son interrupts T. and sees the TV, which leads us to try to explain some of what is happening at an age-appropriate level. He’s a very articulate kid, and we work hard to have conversations about real things (hello, pandemic!) in ways he can understand. I don’t want to baby him but I don’t want to worry or scare him, either. It’s a fine line, and he seems to liken the people on the news to “bad guys,” like those in his superhero books.  
5 p.m. — T. is tied up with working from home, so I get the kids fed and make lunches, then he puts the baby to sleep. I sip a tasty craft beer while making our dinner, which is ahi tuna steaks, glass noodles, quick-pickled veg, and edamame — all things I had in the fridge. Our son received a late Christmas gift in the mail today, so he’s well occupied until I wrangle him into a bath (he’s long overdue) and get him into bed. Then I draw myself a bath, which the toddler only interrupts three times in his attempts to protest going to sleep.
7:45 p.m. — T. falls asleep on the couch, and I get into RBG, the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which I’ve been eyeing up on Netflix for ages, just waiting for the right time to indulge. She's such an inspiration.  
9:30 p.m. — Before bed, I check emails and see I'm due to pay for my dog's registration. I pony up the $20 and send an email to advise my other dog passed away so his registration won't be renewed. $20

Daily Total: $72.50

Day Four

7 a.m. — The baby sleeps in this morning, so we all follow suit. We go through our standard morning routine.
9:45 a.m. — After an hour in the office, I go to physio for my leg injury. I got my cast off recently, and I'm hopeful for a strong recovery. The appointment is $110 but covered by my medical benefits. $110 (expensed)
10:30 a.m. — The physio office is next to the grocery store, so I pop in and pick up my online order, which includes salad greens, frozen veg, tangerines, a giant box of Cheerios for baby finger food, oatmeal, coffee cream, wraps, and sausages. Then I'm back in the office to deal with an onslaught of emails. (As a mom, I'm always multitasking and I never feel like I'm doing anything well or with complete focus.) $63.28
12 p.m. — My husband brings paninis for lunch and somehow we manage to get into a massive fight. We're finding it hard to separate work and home life and seem to spend the only time we have together talking about work. Honestly, we don't have much else to talk about these days due to COVID. We're not seeing friends and have no social lives, so we've become each other's only sounding board/therapist. Also, we don't really get a break from the kids. I can't remember the last time we had an actual date, maybe six months ago or more? We have zero time to spend on our relationship and the cracks are starting to show. We're doing our best to hold it together despite the chronic stresses of having small kids and working full-time during COVID.
1 p.m. — I get back to work (mostly emails) and collaborate with a colleague on a major project that’s not progressing as we need it to.
4:30 p.m. — T. and I pick up the kids and repeat the same dinner, daycare lunches, bedtime, TV, physio, reading-in-bed routine.
Daily Total: $63.28

Day Five

4 a.m. — I’m awake (unrefreshed) and can’t get back to sleep. It’s Friday, so we’re at the end of a long-haul week. Repeat the morning routine. By 8:30 a.m., I stop at our local coffee shop to buy Americanos for T. and I. $6.20
11 a.m. — I'm working on intense projects today, so I take a 20-minute break to indulge in some online shopping from Simons. I end up purchasing a new face mask, a mat for the kitchen, a necklace, a dish-drying mat, a planter, and a phone case. $87.27
12:30 p.m. — T. and I pop out to a local brewery/restaurant for lunch. Since the pandemic started, we've been trying to spend money at local, independent restaurants at least once a week. My husband and I each have a beer and share a few dishes (Brussels sprouts, pork belly, tempura broccoli, squash, and smoked pork crudo). $67.49
1:15 p.m. — I stop into a winery on the way back to work to buy a couple of bottles and printed socks as a thank-you to a friend for some hand-me-down jackets for the kids. $52.63
4:30 p.m. — I grab a quick pint after work with T. and his colleague (they're already in the same bubble at work, so we've assessed the hang-out as low-risk) before picking up the kids from daycare. $20.70
 5 p.m. — Back home, we get the kids fed. I manage to mop the floors while the toddler watches Wild Kratts. Of all the annoying cartoony shows, this one is actually education about animals (we're trying to wean him off Paw Patrol). Our floors are constantly a mess now that our baby is eating solid food, even with a dog to eat what falls on the floor. I take half an hour to do my physio exercises and then chill with a glass of wine while watching Ratched. The hubby falls asleep on the couch after a long day.  
Daily Total: $234.29

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — It’s the weekend! Of course, the kids are up extra-early. I get a load of laundry going, then T. and I have coffees and take turns having showers. While the baby is down for her morning nap, I make a sausage and kale strata for breakfast, which I’ve never made before, but it turns out so good. My mom comes over to babysit the kids, while T. and I test drive a used SUV at our local dealership. We own a pick-up truck and SUV (they’re not the nicest cars, but they’re paid for), but they’re too small, not powerful enough, and not safe enough to be our family vehicles. The SUV is only two-wheel-drive, and we put the truck in the ditch after hitting black ice a few years back — with a baby inside. While we're out driving, we see an SUV at another dealership and pop over to test drive it, too. We’re trying to make a decision on what to buy by next week.
2 p.m. — I take our son to the post office to pick up a couple of orders that are waiting for me: a Knix tank from Poshmark and the pair of leggings that finally shipped. I pay for parking. $0.62
2:15 p.m. — I take our little guy with me to the grocery store, which can be potentially disastrous but works out surprisingly well. We pick up chicken wings and sausages as well as bananas, blueberries, bread, eggs, yogurt, and cupcakes, which my son picks out to celebrate a successful first week of daycare with his sibling. $48.42
5 p.m. — I make sugo from a family recipe with sausage and pasta, and brine the chicken wings I bought earlier in salt, paprika, sugar, peppercorns, and beer and set them in the fridge for tomorrow. Same old evening routine, only this time I sneak off to the kitchen for a late-night cupcake and chocolate. 
Daily Total: $49.04

Day Seven

8 a.m. — We have a chill morning getting the kids fed and the baby down for her morning nap. In the meantime, T. works out while I clean the house and prep meals for the week. We’re planning to run a bunch of errands today, and my mom and dad want to have our son over for a little visit, so we drop him off en route.
11:15 a.m. — I've got a few items of clothing to return at the mall, and T. needs to get clothes and supplies for work. I end up buying makeup remover pads and an anti-aging face mask at Shoppers Drug Mart (I can't help but LOVE that place). $9.06
12 p.m. — We've somehow lost our toddler's lunch bag, so I buy a replacement, as well as more lunch containers and reusable snack bags. $25.28
2 p.m. — We’re both super-tired by the time we get home, so we try to nap while the baby naps, but my phone rings the minute I lay down, so I’m up. I end up getting on the exercise bike for 20 minutes, then do some basic deadlifts with a 25-pound kettlebell, and grab my 12-pound kettlebell for standing arms. My recovering leg can't handle much more than this at the moment.
3:30 p.m. — When T. wakes up, he makes a couple of Indian food pouches with rice. (These are so quick, easy, and tasty. I’m obsessed.) My folks bring our son home, and we play with Play-Doh and set up a new crib in the baby’s room. I notice our dog has ripped a toenail, so my son and I treat and wrap it in hopes that it will heal. She’s a tough dog, and we’ve had a lot of experience with broken toenails, so we’ll give it a few days before making a costly vet appointment.
5 p.m. — I make chicken fingers and tater tots for the toddler’s dinner. We try not to eat processed stuff, but it’s impossible to make everything from scratch while working full-time. I can either spend my time cooking or spend my time with our kids, and I’ve decided time with them is more important at this stage. I drain and cook the brined chicken wings and prep a quick salad of cabbage, celery, pickled onions, and greens, with a tarragon-vinegar dressing I've made from last year's homegrown tarragon. The wings turn out amazing. I don’t usually brine in beer, but maybe that’s why they’re perfectly roasted and juicy. I also dusted them with delicious French fry seasoning I ordered online from Schwartz’s deli in Montreal.  
6:30 p.m. — After dinner, I lay on the floor with our toddler for half an hour to help him with a puzzle he wants to do twice. I then get him in the bath and off to bed. He tends to sleep better on the weekends when he doesn’t nap (he always has nap time at daycare, which makes it harder to get him to bed). I do some physio exercises while watching a couple of episodes of Wentworth and head off to bed to read a chapter of my book before I turn out the lights.  
Daily Total: $34.34
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