A Week In Greater Edmonton, AB, On A $145,000 Joint Income

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Today: a speech-language pathologist working in healthcare who has a $145,000 joint income and spends some of her money this week on a maternity dress.

Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 30
Location: Greater Edmonton, AB
My Salary: $101,000
My Husband's Salary: $44,000
Net Worth: $169,000 (Our home is worth $475,000, I have $55,000 in a defined benefit pension, $23,500 in savings and investments, and my car is worth $5,500. )
Debt: $390,000 (This is the $370,000 owing on our mortgage, plus W.'s $20,000 student loan.)
My Paycheque Amount (1x/month): $5,524
My Husband's Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,379

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage & Property Taxes: $2,123 (I pay for the mortgage, and W. pays for utilities.)
Home Insurance: $117
Life Insurance: $53
Car Insurance: $222 (for both our cars)
Water: $90
Gas: $130
Electricity: $160
Internet & Cable: $180
Both Our Phones: $160
Student Loan Savings: $1,500 (W.'s payments are on hold during the pandemic, but he's been putting away $1,000, and I've been putting away $500 to pay off a significant part of the balance in a lump sum.)
My Husband's Health & Dental Benefits: $29.76 (My employer covers mine.)
Defined Benefit Pension Plan: $865.94 (This comes off my paycheque, and my employer kicks in $950.34.)
Netflix: $13.99
New York Times: $4.50
Savings: $1,000 (I'm pregnant, and I'm aiming to set aside $5,000 for maternity-leave expenses.)

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 was a huge nerd in high school, so nobody was surprised when I went to university. My parents and grandparents paid my tuition and rent during undergrad, plus my grad school tuition, so I was lucky to graduate with no student loans.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents impressed upon me the importance of saving. We used to watch Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Til Debt Do Us Part and Princess, so we had lots of talks about what not to do with money.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
When I was 16, I got a job coaching gymnastics. This gave me spending money, and I started building up my savings account.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I always thought my family was middle-class, but as I got older, I realized that my parents were in a very good financial position. My mother didn't need to work, and they didn't have a mortgage on their house.

Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money somewhat now, because I'm going on maternity leave for a year, but I laid out a detailed budget for that time, and I know we're in a good financial position. I also know I'm privileged — my parents paying for school meant that I could put all of my disposable income towards saving for a house. They also paid a significant portion of our wedding costs and contributed to our down payment.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
At 22, I started paying for my own rent and food. A couple of years later, when I moved to Alberta for work, I became fully financially responsible for myself. I know that if anything happened, my parents could help out, but I don't want to be in a position where I have to ask.

Day One

5:06 a.m. — I'm woken up by the baby kicking like crazy. I run to the bathroom and realize I'm starving. I grab a granola bar from the kitchen and go back to sleep. I'm on vacation today, so I can sleep in! (Since we're not travelling anytime soon, I've been using vacation days to take Mondays and Fridays off.)
9:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. If I didn't have one, I'd probably sleep until noon. I heat up pre-prepped oatmeal and make a hot chocolate for breakfast. No coffee for the baby!
10 a.m. — I lounge in my pajamas and browse Reddit (I follow r/AmItheAsshole, r/BabyBumps, r/PersonalFinanceCanada, r/pregnant, r/thebachelor, r/xxfitness). Eventually, I get dressed, wash my face with Garnier micellar water, and use a Neutrogena Hydro Boost moisturizer.
11:30 a.m. — I'm big on meal prepping, so I roast a sweet potato and cherry tomatoes in the oven, then sauté spinach in my cast-iron pan. I use a third of the veggies to make a giant frittata for the week, adding 12 eggs and milk. The rest of the veggies go into the freezer to be used for future lunches. I eat a slice of frittata, clean up the kitchen, and run the dishwasher.
1 p.m. — I've been working from home since March, but I'll be back in the office soon. I've been eyeing maternity dresses from the Gap, and they're 50% off today, so I buy three for back-to-work ($95.18). I also need face masks, because the ones I bought fit my husband's face but fall off of mine. I find cute cloth ones with polka dots and adjustable ear loops from a Montreal-based Etsy seller. I have to pay shipping, so I buy two packs of four to make the order worth it ($64.20) $159.38
2 p.m. — It's time for my second lunch. I have bad acid reflux due to the pregnancy, so I eat small meals throughout the day. I make avocado toast using a mini guacamole cup from Costco, and I take a calcium gummy.
3 p.m. — Workout time. W. and I used to go to a small gym where we exercised with a personal trainer, but since the pandemic we turned one of our bedrooms into a home gym. I've been following a prenatal exercise plan, and today is 30 minutes of low-impact cardio.
5 p.m. — I booked an assessment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to make sure everything is in good shape for labour and delivery. One of my pregnant friends recommended it. It's expensive, but it'll be covered by benefits. $150 (expensed)
7 p.m. — W. barbecues Costco hotdogs with bell peppers. Delicious!
8 p.m. — I got a new ebook from the library today, Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo. I settle in with it, while W. games downstairs. I've been into zombie apocalypse novels during COVID-19, and this one has some kick-ass girl protagonists. It's a four-book series, and I've enjoyed seeing how the world has evolved during a zombie pandemic. It makes staying at home and wearing a mask look very reasonable by comparison!
10:30 p.m. — I wash my face with Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser Lotion, moisturize with Neutrogena Hydro Boost, and apply Avène Skin Recovery Cream. I also use Finacea gel to deal with rosacea and pregnancy acne.
Daily Total: $159.38

Day Two

8 a.m. — It's a work day, so I eat my oatmeal and drink my hot chocolate while checking email. Then I get dressed and go into the home office I share with W., because I have back-to-back video therapy sessions.
12 p.m. — I have to write up notes from my sessions, but first I heat up a slice of my frittata and follow it with watermelon. W. turns on Catch 21, our work-from-home lunch ritual.
2 p.m. — It's avocado toast time! I'm totally that person who eats the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch and never gets bored. Thank goodness for guacamole cups!
3:45 p.m. — I'm done for the day, so it's time to relax on the couch and browse Reddit while the baby kicks.
6 p.m. — W. is barbecuing again: pork tenderloin with grilled garlic-tarragon zucchini. After dinner, my mom calls, and I throw on shoes to go for a walk and chat with her. We were planning on visiting my family in Ontario this summer, but that's another thing that won't happen because of the pandemic. I never imagined my family wouldn't see me with a baby bump or meet the newborn! Most of them would need to fly to see us when the baby arrives, so realistically, my mom is the only one who will have the flexibility to visit for enough time to make the quarantine worth it. Being pregnant during the pandemic has been different: I couldn't do birth classes with W. or in-person prenatal yoga, but thankfully, I was able to get care with a midwife, so I can choose if I want to deliver at a hospital, at home, or at a birthing centre. Depending on how everything goes with coronavirus, I might not want to be in a hospital in December.
9 p.m. — I watch two episodes of Parks and Recreation with W., then we're off to bed by 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — I have the morning off for a midwife appointment. After enjoying a sleep-in, I eat my oatmeal for breakfast and read my favourite advice columns: Ask a Manager for work advice and Dear Prudence for life advice.
10 a.m. — W. drives us into the city. I'm due in December, and this is my second in-person appointment. It starts out with my midwife calling us in the car for COVID-19 screening. W. can't come in, but I call him from the assessment room, so he can listen in. Going to appointments alone has been hard, but luckily I found an ultrasound place that lets him come into the room to see the baby at the end of my exam. Today, we get to hear the heartbeat, and I come away with requisitions for bloodwork and gestational diabetes testing.
11 a.m. — My midwife's office is near my favourite bakery, so we pop in for a brownie for me and an oatmeal-chocolate cookie for W., plus two strawberry-caramel shortbreads to enjoy later ($10.76). Because we're in the city, we also stop at Superstore for a curb-side pickup of groceries that includes turkey sausages, blueberries, basmati rice, frozen French fries, and Merci assorted chocolates, which I love except for the coffee and marzipan ones. I give those to W. ($65.33). $76.09
12 p.m. — I have a meeting this afternoon to discuss what in-person work will look like. Since I only have a few months to go before maternity leave, I'm staying super-cautious. I'll be going to the office but continuing to see clients virtually. There are lots of families who have found teletherapy worked well for them, and they're choosing to stay home from school this year, so I'll still have plenty of clients to see.
2:30 p.m. — I call a client family to troubleshoot technical difficulties with their child's communication device. It's definitely harder to fix a problem without the device in front of me, but at least the family is learning how to do it themselves.
4:30 p.m. — It's time for my workout. Today is 40 minutes of strength training, and I'm proud of myself for increasing the weight on my squats and bicep curls. I collapse on the balcony with an iced tea juice box before showering.
6 p.m. — We have leftover pork tenderloin, and I do up Buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer. We've been seeing a cute commercial lately that references “cauliflower that tastes like wiiiiiiiiiings,” so that's my inspiration. I'm not sure that I want to add eight tablespoons of butter as called for in the recipe, so I use canola oil spray and hope for the best. The first batch is dry, but I spray more generously with the next two, and they turn out well!
7 p.m. — I FaceTime with my sister-in-law in New York. Her kid is almost two years old, so we talk about baby essentials. We've still got a while to go before the due date, so we haven't bought anything yet, but my family has been asking about a registry. I'm trying to be minimalist. So far, the list includes a crib mattress and bedding, a dresser, a rocking chair, a bassinet, a changing pad, a baby carrier, a play mat and play gym, a night light/sound machine, a high chair, and a nursing pillow. I'm still trying to decide on the stroller/car seat combo. There are some pricey ones out there that get rave reviews, but I'm not sure they're worth it.
9 p.m. — W. and I watch an episode of Big Brother. Thank goodness there's new TV to watch! Then bedtime. The baby always knows when it's time to sleep and starts having a party.
Daily Total: $76.09

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up for work, eat oatmeal, and drink hot chocolate while checking my email. I get dressed for two more video sessions with families, then it's frittata, watermelon, and Catch 21. I'm totally a creature of habit.
3:30 p.m. — I make sure to set my out-of-office message, because tomorrow is another day off! I booked a prenatal massage, and I've been looking forward to it all week, because my back is killing me. I wear a mask inside my massage therapist's house, and she does too, along with a face shield, so it feels very safe. The total is $90, but $50 is covered by my insurance. $40
6 p.m. — W. barbecues chicken breasts along with more zucchini that I marinated earlier this week. (When it's not barbecue weather, W. and I split the cooking more evenly.)
8 p.m. — I got into fancy bread making last year, and it definitely saves us money! I used to get $6 sourdough loaves from my favourite bakery, but now I can do up delicious bread at home. We watch Big Brother and pause a few times while I fold the bread dough. It'll rise overnight. I'm not used to making bread with a bump, and when I look down there's flour all over my belly.
10:30 p.m. — Lights out, and the baby does a kickboxing class in my uterus again. W. can feel a few kicks, which is so special!
Daily Total: $40

Day Five

9:30 a.m. — After sleeping in (thanks, Baby!), I eat oatmeal and hot chocolate and divide the bread dough into three loaves for proofing and baking. Once they're done, I run the robot vacuum to pick up all the flour on the floor.
12 p.m. — The Denver Nuggets, my favourite basketball team, is playing the Raptors, W.'s favourite team, so we grab nuggets from the McDonald's drive-thru for lunch and watch the game. $20.33
3 p.m. — Today's workout is 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of prenatal ab exercises. I hate planks, but they're good for me.
6 p.m. — Dinner is lentil-cauliflower curry pulled from the freezer. I make a huge batch of this in my crockpot every few months. Then it's cleaning and sanitizing time. We invited a couple over for a socially distant hangout on our balcony, so I need to make sure everything is safe and our place looks good. Lysol wipes for everything!
8 p.m. — I pull the patio furniture as far apart as I can, so we can safely socialize. Usually, I'd make dessert and/or snacks, but we're avoiding that because of the pandemic. This is the first time that we've had people over to our place since COVID-19 shut everything down, and it's so nice to actually see and talk to people!
10 p.m. — After they leave, I re-sanitize the door knobs and bathroom. Then we head up to bed.
Daily Total: $20.33

Day Six

10 a.m. — I roll out of bed and enjoy scrambled eggs and toast made by W., then grab a protein bar before we head into the city. We're looking at paint colours for the nursery today, so we drive to a Sherwin-Williams. We spend a lot of time looking at very similar blue paint chips and narrow it down to two. We get samples to try out on our walls at home. $21.99
1:30 p.m. — Our current workout room will become the nursery, so I get W. to clear space against two of the walls. I grab an old sheet, brushes, and we throw up the first coat of paint.
3 p.m. — While it's drying, we go for a walk. It's a beautiful day out, and there's a park nearby with a man-made lake, so we walk the trail there. I only have to ask W. to slow down twice, and my Fitbit gives me 55 exercise minutes!
5 p.m. — There's a new taco truck in town, and we do an early dinner. They let you mix and match your order, so we each get four kinds. My chorizo and potato tacos are meh, but the others are all delicious. $28.98
7 p.m. — It's time for a second coat of paint. I'm leaning towards the lighter colour, but W. likes the darker colour. We watch a few episodes of The World's Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. I'm amazed by how little sleep they get and how they just keep going. Surprisingly, the Canadians are doing well! I snack on blueberries and an ice cream sandwich. We follow that with a few episodes of Parks and Recreation, then head up to bed.
Daily Total: $50.97

Day Seven

10 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I try to snooze, but I have to pee. I make avocado toast for breakfast, drink hot chocolate, lounge in my pajamas, and browse Reddit. I love lazy mornings! We check out the paint colours. I'm not sold on either one, so it might be back to the paint store for more samples. I have a vision for the baby's room, and I want it to be perfect. I'm looking for the right shade of dusty blue for the walls, with navy and teal nautical accents, and mid-century-modern-style furniture.
12 p.m. — I prep my breakfasts for the week: steel-cut oats, coconut milk, and a little water go into the crockpot to cook for four hours. When it's done, I'll stir in pumpkin for fibre and chocolate protein powder.
1 p.m. — I get W. to sunscreen me up and settle in on the balcony with my ebook. I steal the cushions from one of the chairs to make a super-comfy nest on our outdoor loveseat.
4 p.m. — We drive to our local No Frills for burger buns, sparkling water, microwave popcorn, coleslaw, eggs, milk, butter, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, corn on the cob, and peaches. There's a good sale on meat, so we get two packages of chicken and three packages of chorizo. $100.74
6 p.m. — W. barbecues burgers, and we do rosemary-garlic fries in the air fryer. This is one of my favourite meals. After dinner, we sit out on the balcony with sparkling waters, but it's buggy outside, so we move back to the living room for today's episode of Big Brother. We follow it with Parks and Recreation before turning out the lights at 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $100.74
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