A Week In Scarborough, ON, On A $59,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Attention, Canadians! We're featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.
Today: a support person working in software who makes $59,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a couch.
Occupation: Support Person
Industry: Software
Age: 27
Location: Scarborough, ON
Salary: $59,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,800
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $400 (My boyfriend, T., and I rent a room in my mom's house. We lived here to save money while finishing our degrees, and my mom started charging rent once I graduated. At the end of the week, we're moving into a basement apartment that's $1,400 a month, including internet, utilities, and parking.)
Phone: $28.25 (for unlimited texting and calling but no data)
Presto Transit Card: $99.20
Netflix: (We use T.'s sister's account)
Car: $0 (T. pays for it.)
Health & Dental Benefits: $47.06 (My benefits cover both T. and me.)
Savings: I transfer whatever is left at the end of the month into my Wealthsimple account. It's usually around $2,000, although I can tell that isn't going to happen this month.
Advertisement

Day One

6:15 a.m. — T. and I get ready for the day. I work in software full-time, but I also I volunteer as a tournament director for a sports league. T. and I have organized a tournament for this weekend in partnership with a festival. We usually don't get paid, but the festival has agreed to pay me $300 for my work, and T. $150 for his. I smear on sunscreen and concealer and make myself a hot water with honey.
6:50 a.m. — We stop at Tim Hortons to get a bagel-egg sandwich thing with a drink for T. I don't like Tim Hortons' misuse of Canadian values for their commercials, but it's the easiest place to stop this early in the morning, and my values aren't awake yet. $6.80
7:39 a.m. — We arrive at the field and set up. It starts to rain, and I sit under a tent to finish setting up scorecards for the day's games. I eat two chocolate croissants I bought earlier in the week.
11 a.m. — The rain stops! Yay! I carry around a water bottle to force myself to stay hydrated throughout the day.
3:28 p.m. — The day is going okay. I eat another chocolate croissant between games and fill out more scorecards. My pants are still damp from the rain earlier, but it's okay.
4:40 p.m. — The last game of the day ends. T. and I thank the players for coming, and we clean up. We end up bickering while trying to carry a table: Each of us is holding an end, and he's mad that I'm walking at an angle, but I insist I'm walking straight backwards. We're both cold and tired, and this is a pointless spat, but his tone could've been kinder. We drop off the table and see that the festival organizer has put out packaged pastries for volunteers. We stuff our pockets with them and go back to cleaning up the field.
Advertisement
5:45 p.m. — With everything put away, the garbage picked up, and the equipment loaded into the car, we go for Greek food. We never have the energy to cook at the end of a league event. $40.08
6:53 p.m. — We stop for gas. The festival will reimburse us for this. ($42.32 expensed)
7 p.m. — When we get home, my aunt and cousin have already arrived. T. is tired and goes to shower. I'm a mess, but I try to socialize. They just came from visiting my grandfather, who moved into an assisted living home after he broke his hip. My aunt tells me she's concerned about his care. He'd buzzed a nurse to help him get to the washroom but was left waiting for over an hour. I tell her that when I visited recently, he told me a mentally unwell man had gone into his room and thrown his things around, and when he buzzed for help, it took three nurses to get the man out. We don't know what to do about the situation.
9:13 p.m. — I have a shower and scroll through my phone to see what I missed of the day, then go to bed.
Daily Total: $46.88

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I'm physically tired, but my body wakes me up anyways. My sinuses are stuffed, and my face is sunburned, so I try to blow my nose quietly and splash water on my face. I return to the bedroom, and T. pulls me back into bed to cuddle.
Advertisement
9 a.m. — It's time to get up! I took a vacation day to go to the zoo with my aunt and cousin. T. is not feeling great, so I make him a tea, give him cold and flu medication, and heat us up leftover rice for breakfast.
10:02 a.m. — I purchase two adult tickets and one parking pass to the Toronto Zoo. We got two other adult passes for free, because T. waited in line for 90 minutes a few weeks ago at the Toronto Public Library. Each week, the TPL offers a limited number of free passes to attractions around the city, which saved us a lot of money for this trip. We pack chocolate and nuts from home, so we don't have to buy food there. $58
2:10 p.m. — We've had a good day at the zoo, and T.'s phone tells us we hit 15,000 steps, so I feel good about that. We drop off my aunt and cousin at the train station and head to my dermatology appointment.
2:35 p.m. — I'm handed a clipboard to fill in my personal info. I have a freckle that's been showing signs of a problem, and some of my close relatives have been diagnosed with melanoma, so I was referred to this place. Sitting in the waiting room, I'm definitely tired from the weekend and trying not to fall asleep.
3:20 p.m. — I'm called in to see the doctor, who isn't sure if the freckle is cancerous but is leaning towards no, which I'm glad to hear. However, I book a follow-up appointment in three weeks to have it removed. T. texts to say that we can visit our new apartment, so we stop by to measure the rooms and make awkward chit chat with our new landlords.
Advertisement
4:10 p.m. — On a high from seeing our new place, we go to The Brick and buy a mattress, a boxspring, and a couch. We'd been looking at couches for two months when we signed the rental agreement and, unfortunately, the one I want (in a silly colour) is no longer in stock. The soonest we can get it is February, and the price has increased since we saw it last. Thankfully, the salesperson agrees to sell it to us at the price we were previously quoted, and I buy it. T. is not happy about not having a couch for the next three months, but we already have a chair, and we can buy a cheap bean bag chair to go with it if necessary. Plus, maybe no couch will discourage us from watching TV? $1,450.86
4:40 p.m. — Heading home, I realize all we have to eat is a bag of pasta. We didn't get groceries this week, because we're moving and neither of us feels like cooking. We stop at McDonald's, and I'm disappointed we're eating out again this week. $18.40
8:30 p.m. — We watch YouTube, and I go through the scorecards from the tournament to send the referees their payments. I should really finish packing but instead watch Breaking Bad on the couch (enjoy it while we have it).
Daily Total: $1,527.26

Day Three

6 a.m. — T.'s alarm goes off. He was laid off five months ago (his entire branch was shut down). This month, he's picked up a few days of work doing deliveries, but no steady employment yet. I know it seems like bad timing to be moving out, but we've been looking for our own place for two years. It's been hard to find something in our budget that's not run-down and gross, and still near public transit, so I can get to work. When T. found this place on Facebook, it checked all the boxes, and we realized there will never be a perfect time to move out, so we decided to do it.
Advertisement
7:55 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I work from home two days a week, so I get up, go to the couch, and start work. I sift through emails from my day off. Taking only one day off is not great, because then I just have two days' worth of work when I get back. But if I take off more than one day at a time, my boss reassigns my work to someone else, and the day back is much easier.
10:02 a.m. — A HelloFresh box is delivered. I put the stuff in the fridge, brush my teeth, and get back to work on my laptop. I don't feel like getting out of my PJs right now.
11:30 a.m. — I eat one of the pastries I took from the tournament on Sunday.
1:15 p.m. — I microwave a frozen burrito and eat it while answering more emails.
4 p.m. — Done work! I go through receipts from this weekend and send them to the festival for reimbursement. Then I work on one of the meal kits; it's taco bowls with Beyond Meat patties. I save the patties for another meal, because I'm cheap.
7 p.m. — T. and I grab our yoga mats and walk to the library. The new memoir from Bob Iger (the CEO of Disney) is waiting for me on the holds shelf, I'm looking forward to reading it.
7:45 p.m. — Our Pilates class starts. It's in the community centre near the library. I bought two 11-week passes for $95 each a couple of months ago. I pay for T.'s classes, because I like going with him and know that he could use a chance to stretch and feel good. Plus, my work reimburses me $25 a month for fitness expenses. After class, we go home and disassemble a shelf while watching Breaking Bad.
Advertisement
10:10 p.m. — We're still feeling energized from Pilates, so we have some fun and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I snooze for 10 minutes before I make myself get up. By 6:36 a.m., I catch the bus and eat a bag of snow peas I bought last week that were still in the fridge.
7:44 a.m. — I arrive at work, and use the office scanner to scan this weekend's scorecards and send them to the league before work starts. A co-worker has left chocolate on my desk as a thank you for taking a difficult client last week. Yay!
10 a.m. — I make a cup of peppermint tea in the break room and drink it at my desk.
5:20 p.m. — I get home to find T. making one of the HelloFresh meals. Fuck yes! I love having dinner ready when I get home. We should be packing, but we eat while watching more episodes of Breaking Bad and end up glued to the TV.
9:30 p.m. — I join a call about this weekend's tournament, which is way bigger than the one last weekend, so there's a lot of planning involved.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:55 a.m. — The alarm goes off, and I start work on my laptop. I can see a lot of things laying around that I didn't pack last night, which I'm regretting, because we're moving tomorrow!
8:45 a.m. — I eat leftover noodles from the fridge.
Advertisement
10:07 a.m. — T. and I eat the Beyond Meat patties on leftover pita bread with ketchup and spicy mayo.
11 a.m. — I eat candy I shouldn't be eating.
1:47 p.m. — I get a call asking for a reference for a former colleague at the league. I give him a glowing recommendation. A lot of people volunteer with the league for a year or two to fill in their resumes. Only one league person gets paid an honorarium for putting up with the shitty stuff. This makes it hard to retain staff because few people are willing to work for no pay. I personally believe in this league and its positive influence on the people who play. I met T. through playing in it, so I know what a great community it is!
4:30 p.m. — I take a last-minute group call for an unexpected issue with the tournament this weekend. The call lasts almost an hour as we brainstorm how to resolve the problem. After the call, I pack and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — Moving day! We load up the car with boxes and head over to get our keys. I'm excited to get out of my mom's house and have a place for just me and T.!
12:50 p.m. — We take a break from shuttling between houses and go to Walmart for groceries: rice, veggie dogs, eggs, frozen fish, yogurt, dish soap, ketchup, butternut squash, and cauliflower ($45.55). We also get detergent ($15.96) and toilet paper ($10.97). $72.48
Advertisement
1:09 p.m. — We stop at Home Depot to get a wooden dowel for hanging a rug. After dropping off the groceries at our new place, we go to my mom's and have a bath using a bath bomb we've been saving. My mom's bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with a massive tub. She doesn't let any of us use it, but we like to indulge in a bubble bath when she's out of town. $6.62
2:30 p.m. — The bubble bath party is over. Our new apartment has a stand-up shower, so it'll be a long time before we get to enjoy that again. Time to get back to hauling boxes. My little sister is home and agrees to drive a large desk over to the new place (it's too large to fit in T.'s car). She helps carry it in, and she's the first person to visit our new place. Being a wonderful enthusiastic little sister, she give us lots of, "Wow, oh look at this! This is great!" We don't bump into each other very much, even though we live in the same house. She's a server and works evenings, so when I get up for work, she's asleep, then she's gone for work when I get home, and then I fall asleep before she gets home. I do see her on the days I would work from home, though. I'm going to miss her.
4:30 p.m. — Pretty much everything has been moved, aside from loose items we haven't boxed yet, but we're tired, so we stop and go to our place. I cook the fish we bought earlier, and we eat it amid the piles of boxes and disassembled furniture.
Advertisement
6 p.m. — After difficulty finding our clothes in the new place, we pack our bags, load up the car, and drive to the city that's hosting our tournament this weekend. It's not common to have a tournament every weekend, but the universe is throwing it all at me right now, because it knows I can take it.
7:45 p.m. — We arrive at the hotel, which is a nice, simple business chain. Checking in, I see there's an indoor pool, and I'm disappointed I didn't bring a bathing suit. Once we get to the room (which is covered by the league) we quickly fall asleep.
Daily Total: $79.10

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I wash my face, smear on sunscreen and concealer, and I'm out the door. We stop at Tim Hortons and T. buys us each a breakfast sandwich.
7:31 a.m. — We're on the field. Let's make this happen! It's way colder than it was last weekend. T. and I aren't tournament directors for this one — we're just event staff — so there's less pressure on us.
9:50 a.m. — An event staff member brings me a free cup of coffee. I don't usually drink coffee, but I take it this time, because it's warm, and I'm very cold. I receive an automated call telling me our new mattress will be delivered tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. This is disappointing, because I'd hoped to sleep in tomorrow, and now we'll have to get up early and drive back to get there in time. I call back and ask if we can get a later time slot, and the person on the phone says, "You get what you get."
Advertisement
11:30 a.m. — The tournament director brings around pizza for the volunteers, and I get two slices of hot, greasy, delicious pizza. I should budget my events to give volunteers pizza.
3:50 p.m. — I eat a cookie someone offers me. Recognizing me as part of the league, a player approaches me to express concern about how player fees are being used to pay for this tournament. The league's fees are ridiculously low, considering the costs of field rentals and insurance, but I know players likely have other expenses this weekend (transportation, hotels, etc.), so I understand their pain. I also think this player doesn't understand all the volunteers behind the scenes who've been working for free, so if they see us doing something they deem wasteful (like eating pizza), they feel like we're wasting their money. I sympathize with him, tell him the league is very careful with its fees, and thank him for sharing his concerns. Sigh.
4:50 p.m. — Still working on the fields. I eat a granola bar I had stashed in my pocket. It's cold and hard and does nothing to warm me up.
7:45 p.m. — We're done for the day!
7:58 p.m. — We stop at Subway and T. and I each buy a sandwich. My face is starting to hurt, and I can't tell if it's because of the wind or sun. We go back to the hotel room, and I have a very hot shower, which feels great. I crawl into bed to eat my sandwich. I feel so warm and comfortable — this is bliss! $9.03
Advertisement
Daily Total: $9.03

Advertisement

More from Work & Money