A Week In The Ottawa Valley, ON, On A $100,000 Joint Income

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Today: a Starbucks supervisor working in food and beverage who makes $34,000 per year ($100,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of it on a Coffee Crisp.
Occupation: Starbucks Supervisor
Industry: Food and Beverage
Age: 31
Location: The Ottawa Valley, ON
My Salary: $34,000
My Husband's Salary: $76,000
My Paycheque Amount (Biweekly): $1,200
My Husband's Paycheque Amount (Biweekly): $2,050
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,800 (This includes property taxes. We bought our house in 2016 for $272,000, with a down payment of $49,000. We put in $200 extra every two weeks to pay down the mortgage ahead of schedule.)
Electricity: $75
Heat: $75
Car Insurance: $180 (for both our cars)
Gas: $100 (It goes up to $150 a month in winter when we can't bike.)
Home Insurance: $69
Internet: $66
Phones: $160 (for both our phones)
Xbox Live: $4.99
Spotify: $9.99
Netflix: $13.99 (My mother-in-law uses our account, too.)
Amazon Prime: $0 (We use my brother-in-law's account, and he refuses to let us pay him.)
My Savings: $725 (Split between my TFSA and RRSP. Combined, I have $77,000 saved.)
Husband's Savings: $850 (Split between his TSFA and RRSP. Combined, he has $95,000 saved.)
Husband's Pension: $600 (His employer matches this 100%. Right now his pension is about $180,000.)
Joint Savings: $500 (We each put $250 into to a high-yield savings account for emergencies and big expenses. The balance is currently $28,000.)

Day One

4:45 a.m. — I lay in bed for five minutes trying to wake up, then pop out of bed. I get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth, put on makeup, braid my hair, grab my lunch, kiss my sleeping husband goodbye, and hop on my bike for a 10-minute ride to work. We own both our cars outright but we ride our bikes when the weather is nice because it's bonus exercise, we get to skip traffic, and it means less gas and wear and tear on the cars. We also like to take advantage of small-town living.
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5:30 a.m. — Work starts! It's a typical busy day.
6:30 a.m. — Breakfast of champions: a tall chai tea latte with whole milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg (free while on the clock), paired with a granola bar.
10:45 a.m. — Lunch! Or whatever meal you eat at this hour. I have leftover dijon chicken with peas and scalloped potatoes, which I packed last night.
2 p.m. — I ride home. M. washed the dishes before he went to work, so I put them away. I relax with the internet. (I know this is weird but I like sweepstakes sites. Although, I've only ever won little things.) Then I read my book, Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, while snacking on crackers with peanut butter and a sparkling water.
3:30 p.m. — I kiss M. hello when he gets home from work, and we chat about our days. He goes downstairs for a workout in the basement, where he has an extensive weight set. (He also gets free gym access through work, which covers both of us.) I start cooking, then go downstairs to chat and read to him while he lifts weights.
5:30 p.m. — I make thit kho tau, a Vietnamese dish of caramelized pork belly and eggs with rice, which is one of M.'s favourite meals. There are enough leftovers for his lunch tomorrow, so even better. After dinner, he plays video games, and I read my book and goof around on the internet (Go Fug Yourself and Ask A Manager are current favourites).
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7:15 p.m. — Run time! We drive to a nearby forest because it's cooler. There are bears spotted in the area once a week or so, but we talk the whole time, so I'm not too worried. We do a quick five kilometres, then head home to shower.
8 p.m. — I half-heartedly work on my novel. It's historical fiction set before the American Civil War, and I've been dragging it out for a while. I'm 60,000 words deep and could probably finish it with two weeks of focused work, but that doesn't seem likely. For now, I add 500 words a couple of times a week.
9 p.m. — I pack my lunch for tomorrow and lay out my clothes, so I can get up and go.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

4:45 a.m. — Wake up, wash up, make myself up, kiss M. goodbye, and hop on my bike. It's only a couple of kilometres, but I go slowly so I don't start the day sweaty. By the end of my workday, I'm always covered in milk and God knows what else so I try to keep myself clean beforehand.
6:15 a.m. — Tall whole milk chai tea latte and a granola bar.
11 a.m. — M. took the leftover pork, so I made myself a sandwich and take it out to the patio with a tall iced green tea with raspberry. I normally don't have two caffeinated drinks in one day, but I'm dragging because of the heat.
2 p.m. — At home, I put away the dishes from this morning, then sit down with my calendar. I use a paper planner to keep track of my whole life. I put down my work schedule for the next two weeks and make plans with a friend. I FaceTime my parents and tell them about my day (a guy yelled at me for not taking a competitor's gift card).
4 p.m. — M. gets home, we catch up, and he goes downstairs for a work out, while I start the rice cooker. It'll be an early dinner, because I have choir practice later.
5:30 p.m. — Supper time for us and the cat. She has cat food; we have burrito bowls with cilantro-lime rice, refried beans, taco-seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, and salsa.
6:30 p.m. — I'm off to my weekly choir practice!
8 p.m. — On my way home, I pick up a coffee for M., but it's free thanks to the collection of McDonald's stickers we've been hoarding.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — The last two early days have worn me out, so I stay in bed and look at my phone until M. gets back from his run.
8:30 a.m. — I get up for real, feed the cat, and have toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas, and a cup of peach tea. M. has coffee. We read the news to each other until he leaves for work around 9:30 a.m.
10 a.m. — I work tonight, so I pack my dinner (leftover burrito bowl), wash the dishes, start a load of laundry, and call my parents. I put the clothes out on the line, throw the towels and rags in the wash, water my plants, and go out to run errands.
11:30 a.m. — I stop by the library to return books, then head over to the drugstore for a $1.99 face mask (my favourite cheap indulgence), hair ties (my cat commandeers them, so they go missing all the time, $4.12), and a book of stamps ($12.70). I send weekly cards or notes to my mom. She lives in the States and is suffering from stage IV neuroendocrine cancer that's spread to her liver and lungs. I can't be there with her in person, so I try to talk to her daily and send her mail as much as possible. I'm past due to start planning my next visit. $18.81
1:30 p.m. — I bring the laundry in off the line, fold it, and put it away. I contemplate buying placemats at Simons online but I'm too lazy to get my credit card from my purse so I buy nothing. One of my coworkers is having a baby, so I find a generic congratulations card in my desk stash, sign it, and put it in my work bag. I'm not buying a gift for her shower. We've been trying to get pregnant for four years, and IVF (covered through OHIP for one round, then insurance) has been unsuccessful. The thought of doing any baby-related shopping is too painful for words. Everyone at work is pitching in for one big gift, so no one will notice my lack of contribution.
3:30 p.m. — The forecast calls for rain, and I get off work after midnight, so I drive to work. My community is very safe, but I'm not comfortable biking that late at night, even with lights on my bike.
6:30 p.m. — My meal break isn't until later, but I'm hungry now so I have my delicious leftover burrito bowl.
9:30 p.m. — M. stops by to surprise me with a pizza! It's my favourite, Hawaiian on thin crust. I share a couple of pieces with the other girls at work. Amazing.
12:30 a.m. — M. has been asleep for a while, so I quietly get into bed and read on my Kobo to wind down (I've moved onto The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris).
Daily Total: $18.81

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Finally, a day off! It's raining, so M. gets up but doesn't go for his run. I stay in bed dozing and reading, only getting up when the cat wanders in and yells at me. She wants the bed to herself.
8:30 a.m. — I have a muffin and a cup of tea and refill the coffee canister with beans I brought home for M. last night (we get a free pound of coffee or a box of tea every week, which keeps us and our friends stocked). I take a shower because I didn't get to last night and I feel filthy.
9:30 a.m. — I drive a half hour to a nearby town for a Brazilian sugaring appointment, which I do every six weeks. It's not as painful as waxing, and I enjoy the results, plus I'm supporting a local business run by a great woman. $52
11 a.m. — Home again. It takes me two hours to mow the lawn, weed whack, sweep the driveway, and take out the garbage. I'm hot and sticky and ready for a shower.
1:15 p.m. — Cold leftover pizza for lunch is delicious. I listen to podcasts — lately I'm alternating between Dark Poutine, Dressed: The History of Fashion, and Switched On Pop — and do absolutely nothing. It's fantastic, and I enjoy every minute of it.
2:30 p.m. — Eventually, I do some writing, bring in the recycling bins, and call my parents.
3:45 p.m. — M. gets home from work, and I fill him in on the gossip from the beauty salon. Same routine: he works out while I prep dinner. Tonight we're having ca ri ga, which is chicken curry with sweet potatoes, carrots, and rice. We absolutely love it, and we'll have leftovers for days.
5:30 p.m. — The cat circles the table like a tiny shark while we eat, even though she would never take a bite of curry. It's far too spicy for her taste buds.
8 p.m. — Run time. We do a neighbourhood loop, then come home and shower again because it's hot.
10:30 p.m. — I lay out out my clothes for the next day, pack leftover curry, and go to bed.
Daily Total: $52

Day Five

7 a.m. — M. and I both get up after sleeping in. He goes for a fast run; I pack my bag for work and eat instant oatmeal and tea (I want to get my money's worth out of the hot water boiler we bought last winter.)
8 a.m. — Another day, another dollar. On my way past the post office, I mail letter to my mom.
10:30 a.m. — I'm on a normal human schedule today! I have an iced green tea and eat a granola bar while texting with friends in a group chat.
1 p.m. — Lunch is, as planned, leftover chicken curry.
4:30 p.m. — I ride my bike home with an iced coffee for M., change my clothes, and plan our meals for the next week since I do all the cooking, and we eat 99% of our meals at home. M. is working out, so I ask for his input (he requests spaghetti and congee), then light the barbecue.
5:30 p.m. — Tonight it's just sausages on the grill because we need to go grocery shopping. The cupboards are looking very bare, Mother Hubbard. We eat out on the back deck, listening to our neighbours argue, the church bells chiming at 6 p.m., and the kids playing on the baseball diamond down the block. The cat watches us from inside, crying at our unimaginable cruelty to leave her inside.
6:30 p.m. — The grocery store is fairly empty, even though it's payday for half the town (the weekend will be a madhouse). We buy bananas, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, fresh ginger, bread, canned beans, canned tomato purée, dried pasta, canned tuna, udon noodles, oatmeal, sparkling water, crackers, eggs, sour cream, frozen peas, frozen Brussels sprouts, and treats (ice cream for me, chips for M.). The tally comes to $53, but I use $10 worth of rewards. $43.47
8 p.m. — I don't feel like running. It's hot, and I'm tired, so we go for a long walk through the park and by the river. Back at home, I eat an ice cream bar, take a shower, pack my lunch for tomorrow (more curry), lay out my clothes, and go to bed. M. doesn't work tomorrow so he kisses me goodnight and stays up playing video games.
Daily Total: $43.47

Day Six

4:45 a.m. — Wow, the birds are awfully loud before dawn. It's actually very nice at this hour with no traffic, and I have a pleasant ride into work.
6:30 a.m. — Chai tea latte and oatmeal for breakfast.
10:30 a.m. — I devour my leftover chicken curry. I'm still drowsy so I have an iced black tea with raspberry, which gives me a spring in my step for the rest of the insanely busy day.
2 p.m. — I practically throw the keys at my co-worker in relief and jet out of there as quick as humanly possible. It was an absolute zoo today, and I'm so thankful to come home to my cool, quiet house. M. is playing video games while the cat sleeps on his feet, so I change clothes and sack out on the couch with them.
5:30 p.m. — We're having cucumber soup: cucumbers stuffed with ground pork, garlic, and soy sauce, then cooked in broth with mushrooms and served on rice. It's delicious and not too heavy on another hot day. I pack up the leftovers while M. washes the dishes.
7:30 p.m. — We talk about going for a run, but nah. I'm counting today as a rest day. Instead, we lie on the couch and watch three episodes of Ugly Delicious on Netflix.
10 p.m. — This show has made us so hungry we go on an emergency McDonald's run. We use change from my tip money to pay for two McDoubles and a Junior Chicken. We devour them at home. $9.15
Daily Total: $9.15

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I have a weekend day off, and it's glorious! We stay in bed, reading Reddit and the news to each other, while the cat walks around on us and cries for her breakfast. We're starving, though, so it's time to get up. I strip the bed and throw the sheets and duvet cover in the wash, then start cooking eggs, bacon, and French toast with maple syrup. While I cook, M. cleans the bathrooms, vacuums, and Swiffers the floors.
10 a.m. — Okay, we should do something useful with our day. We get dressed and make the 30-minute drive to Walmart for stuff we need (soap, moisturizer, M.'s contact solution, bleach, Band-Aids, Toilet Duck, dryer sheets) and a few things we don't (yogurt, Coffee Crisp, cookies). $42.58
1:30 p.m. — I made a mess of hard-boiled eggs earlier, so we have those with sliced cheese, crackers, cucumbers — a little bit of everything. I clean the kitchen and put fresh sheets on the bed. The afternoon is relaxation time to the max, because we're done all our chores.
4:30 p.m. — We go for a longer run. I feel fresh because I haven't already spent eight hours on my feet.
5:30 p.m. — I make salad with a balsamic-mayo-maple-syrup salad dressing, roasted pork tenderloin coated in spices, and mashed sweet potatoes. We eat on the deck and enjoy the nice weather.
7:30 p.m. — We go for a walk around a different neighbourhood for a change of pace. On the way, we stop and M. gets a coffee (free with his McDonald's sticker collection), and we wander for an hour before heading back home. I pack my leftover lunch for tomorrow, lay out my clothes, and then roam the internet and work on my novel.
Daily Total: $42.58
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