A Week In Montreal, QC, On An $82,000 Salary

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Today: a transformation analyst working in technology who makes $82,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on brunch.
Occupation: Transformation Analyst
Industry: Technology
Age: 27
Location: Montreal, QC
Salary: $75,000 (plus a 10% annual bonus, which brings my salary up to $82,000)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,950 (thanks, Québec taxes)
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $800 (My partner, S., and I split the rent on our one-bedroom, 860-square-foot apartment in the city. Electricity and hydro are included in our rent.)
Tenant's Insurance: $12.50 (for my half)
Internet: $25 (for my half)
Housekeeper: $120 (We pay our housekeeper $60 for three hours of work per week, which works out to $120 each a month.)
Phone: $0 (I'm lucky that my parents pay for my phone bill.)
Transit Pass: $86.50
Health Insurance: $0 (My employer covers 100% of my insurance.)
Gym Membership: $235 (I realize this is an exorbitant amount, but I do barre, Pilates, and HIIT, and I go five times a week, so the classes work out to $12 each, which is actually a steal!)
Netflix: $0 (I'm a massive asshole and mooch off of my partner's parents)
Pension: $304.16 (This is automatically deducted from my pay, and my employer matches the contribution 100%.)
Employee Stock Purchase Plan: $365 (This is also automatically deducted from my pay and matched 100% by my employer.)

Day One

5:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I don't need to wake up at this time, but I'd rather err on the side of caution than oversleep. I usually get out of bed at 5:45 a.m.
5:50 a.m. — S. isn't working today, so I let him sleep in and make myself a Nespresso. (He usually wakes up earlier than me and takes care of coffee.) Aside from the Nespresso, I don't usually eat before noon.

5:55 a.m. — I rinse my face with warm water and use Sunday Riley C.E.O. brightening serum. While letting the serum sink in, I blowdry my hair. Then I apply Sunday Riley C.E.O. moisturizer with Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow oil. I received a Sunday Riley gift set for the holidays and have been using it sparingly to make it last. I like it, but I'm not sure if I'll repurchase it because of the high price. I apply simple makeup for work: Charlotte Tilbury foundation, NudeStix bronzers in Bondi Bae and Sunkissed, Benefit brow pencil, and L'Oréal mascara. I'm going out tonight and won't have time to go home after work, so I throw a Pat McGrath red lipstick in my purse. It'll easily elevate my pared-down work look.

6:30 a.m. — My office is fairly formal and corporate during the week but more casual on Fridays, so I put on coated black jeans, a black turtleneck sweater, and black heel booties. Then I quickly grab my bag and leave to take public transit.

7:45 a.m. — I arrive at work with enough time to make another coffee using the office Nespresso machine and check my email before I head into back-to-back meetings.

12:15 p.m. — I was supposed to meet a friend at a nearby food court, but with meetings and last-minute deadlines, we postpone. I take a much-needed 20-minute walk to a salad counter and grab a kale, lentil, and tahini salad. $14

5 p.m. — I pack up my things and contemplate bringing my laptop home, so I can get work done on the weekend. I decide against it. I'm going out for dinner and drinks, so it would mean taking the laptop with me or leaving it in the car. I'm not particularly keen on either option.

5:30 p.m. — S. picks me up from the subway, and we drive off-island for our dinner reservation at 7 p.m. The ride takes about 45 minutes, so we're early and end up driving around aimlessly and listening to the latest episode of our favourite podcast, Reply All. We look at homes and comment here and there on the ones we'd like to live in.

7 p.m. — We meet our friends at the restaurant and enjoy dinner and drinks and a much-needed catch-up session. S. and I share appetizers and main dishes: a Caesar salad, grilled octopus, pizza, and pasta. I order an Aperol Spritz and S. gets an Old Fashioned. S. picks up the bill, which comes to $145.40, plus an 18% tip. We don't keep tabs on who pays for what when it comes to meals, but we do try to split things equitably.

12 a.m. — I'm too tired (read: lazy) to do my full nighttime skin-care routine. I force myself to at least use a makeup remover wipe and chug water before going to sleep.

Daily Total: $14

Day Two

8 a.m. — I set an alarm for 8:30 a.m. on the weekends, but I usually wake up naturally before it goes off. I stay in bed with S., have a coffee, and catch up on social media and general online browsing.
9:30 a.m. — I get dressed for my Saturday exercise routine, which is two back-to-back barre classes with my mom. I thoroughly wash my face to make up for last night's negligence and put on Aritzia leggings and an old T-shirt.
12 p.m. — After barre, the day is spent cooking with my mom and a family friend, learning how to make pierogies and other traditional Eastern European delicacies that bring me closer to my Romanian heritage.
4 p.m. — I meet up with S., and we drive to a micro-roaster and café. S. gets a cheese croissant, and I get a matcha-coconut cookie and what might be the best cappuccino I've ever had. I get the bill. $16
7 p.m. — It's gonna be a lazy night in. It's cold out and beginning to snow, and we're both already cuddled in bed. I take a fast bath, and we watch a few episodes of Succession. We order Uber Eats from S.'s account ($32.50) and fall asleep at around 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $16

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — My normal weekend morning routine — laying in bed, drinking coffee, and scrolling social media — is cut short, because I'm taking an early Pilates class today.
10:30 a.m. — I arrive at Pilates and realize I forgot my yoga mat and towel. I have to rent from the studio. $5
12 p.m. — After class, S. and I meet for brunch. We generally don't do weekend brunch, but since we've been trying to eat clean during the week, we're giving ourselves more allowance to indulge on the weekends. S. gets a sandwich, and I get French toast and pick up the bill. $42
2 p.m. — We've been on a recent health kick that's made our grocery shopping much more efficient. Before, our eating habits differed and we made slightly different meals. Now, we're eating the same types of foods, so there's less waste, and we can benefit from the larger packages that grocery stores seem to sell. We drive to Loblaws and stock up on healthy essentials for the week: fruits and veggies, chicken, crackers, hummus, coffee, frozen fruit, milk (almond and regular), cleaning products, bubble bath, and toothpaste. The whole order comes to $189.63, and I pay since S. got groceries last week. I'm fairly bad at anticipating my food cravings for the week, and my grocery orders always end up being more aspirational than anything. I know that I will likely cave mid-week and order Uber Eats for dinner or go on a crazed snack rampage. $189.63
3:30 p.m. — We get home, and I immediately prep my lunch for the week. If I don't do it now, I probably never will. I boil five chicken thighs in miso broth, make two cups of brown rice, and sauté a bunch of kale and mushrooms. Once it's all done, I ration it out into five containers. Then I cut up three bell peppers, ration them into five servings, and pack them into individual bags.
4:30 p.m. — S. and I tidy the house, which is messier than I'm proud to admit. We usually have a housekeeper once a week for three hours, but she had to cut down on her hours. We have someone new starting soon, but we definitely need to clean the place ourselves after a few weeks of letting things pile up. Having a housekeeper is a luxury that's important to us. When we moved into together four years ago, we endured many arguments about cleaning, each of us believing the other wasn't doing enough. A housekeeper helps mitigate these types of petty arguments. I deep clean the surfaces and the bathroom, and S. sweeps and mops the floor. Then we fold our laundry at a leisurely pace.
6 p.m. — We go for dinner at my grandmother's house, which is welcome, because neither one of us feels like cooking or ordering in again.
8 p.m. — Once we get home, S. preps his own lunches for the week — grilled chicken and salad with sweet potatoes — while I pour a bath with Epsom salts. I wash my hair, shave, moisturize, and do my evening skin-care routine while watching last week's episode of The Bold Type. I use Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting face wash, followed by Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads, and Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate face mist.
Daily Total: $236.63

Day Four

5:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I snooze until 5:50 a.m. as usual. Today, S. is up at the same time as me, so he makes us both Nespressos while I blowdry my hair. Then I do my regular morning routine and throw on a low-effort but you-sorta-tried outfit of black trousers and a black sweater, plus blue heels that I'll put on at the office. I pack my bag for the gym and finally remember to take the package from Zara that I've been meaning to return all week.
7:45 a.m. — My early morning meeting has been cancelled, and part of me is annoyed that I could've slept in and come in later. I take the extra time to read Harvard Business Review articles and browse Revolve mindlessly.
9 a.m. — I make a coffee using the machine at work and chat with colleagues before heading into meetings for the morning.
12:15 p.m. — I heat up my lunch and eat with a few colleagues. I can already tell I'll be bored of this meal by Wednesday. I eat my peppers and contemplate eating my pear as well, but I know I'll be hungry again in a few hours, so I save it.
3 p.m. — I'm starving. I'm tired. I eat my pear and cave and buy a black coffee. I could've easily made one in the machine at the office, but the walk to and from Tim Hortons is nice; I walk with colleagues, and we debrief on the meetings we just had. $1.66
5 p.m. — I pack up my bag to leave the office after quickly sending off some last-minute emails. I run to Zara to return a skirt that was too short and two blouses that were too sheer for work. The entire order was $139.92. I contemplate looking around the store, but resist the urge.
6 p.m. — Time for barre class. I head over to the studio, change, drink water, and wait for class to start.
7:15 p.m. — After class, I leave the studio as quickly as possible to make the bus home in time to help S. with dinner.
8 p.m. — S. and I are having cauliflower pizza with mushrooms, onions, and fresh tomato sauce. We eat on the couch while chatting about our days. Then I take a quick bath, do my evening skin-care routine, and head to our room to watch an episode of Succession.
Daily Total: $1.66

Day Five

5:15 a.m. — Alarm, snooze, get ready for work. I feel my time of the month coming, because I can't decide on an outfit to wear to work. I'm moody, tired, and hate how I look in everything. I decide on a pair of black skinny trousers, an olive green sweater, and leopard booties.
7:45 a.m. — I have a large project implementation at the end of the week, so my days are packed with back-to-back meetings and putting out fires.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is inhaled sitting at my desk while responding to emails. I barely have time to notice how bland it tastes (note to self: add sauce next time.)
5:30 p.m. — It's time to leave. This project has made my days gruelling and challenging, but at least they pass quickly! I'm completely exhausted by the time I get home. I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner tonight at a new restaurant, but I'm way too tired. We reschedule for next week, but I feel guilty the whole way home.
6:45 p.m. — The transit ride is unbearable. The subway stalls, and the bus is late, so it takes an extra 30 minutes to get home. I can't help but think this is bad karma for bailing on my friend. S. and I make steak salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, and pistachios.
7:30 p.m. — We eat dinner on the couch (we really only use the kitchen table when we have guests), then S. goes to the gym, while I watch last week's episode of Vanderpump Rules.
9:10 p.m. — We need something sweet (I knew this would happen) and go to the Starbucks near us for hot chocolate. Then we watch another episode of Succession before falling asleep by 11:30 p.m. Another wild night! $8.45
Daily Total: $8.45

Day Six

5:15 a.m. — Waking up today is a chore. The last few weeks, I've been working much longer hours, and it's catching up to me. I have a hard time getting out of bed, and I do much less with my weekends than I would like. I sip coffee while fixing my hair and doing my makeup. I'm on my third day of not washing my hair and… just no. I throw it into a tight bun and plan my outfit. I can't waste time changing a bunch of times again. I settle on black trousers (different ones, I promise), a cream sweater, and a pair of black heels. I quickly pack my gym bag and run out of the house.
7:45 a.m. — The transit ride to work is a relaxing and welcome contrast to yesterday's ride home. I listen to the new episode of my favourite guilty pleasure, a sex advice podcast called Call Her Daddy. When I get to the office, I make myself a coffee in the machine at work.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is enjoyed (okay, lunch at this point is tolerated at best) in the same way as yesterday: while vigorously responding to emails and updating project plans.
4:45 p.m. — I sneak out earlier than usual, because I've been coming in early. I do my Wednesday exercise routine: a Pilates class followed by a yoga class with my mom and sister. About a year ago, my mom and I started taking Pilates together, and my sister recently started joining us, which is nice because we get to catch up after class.
8:30 p.m. — My mom drops my sister and I off at our respective apartments. By this point, I'm starving. As soon as I walk in, S. informs me he's ordered pho, and it should be here in 30 minutes ($37). I knew that by mid-week, we would cave and order food, but I'm not mad about it. I really don't feel like cooking tonight. While we wait for the food to arrive, I take a bath and wash my hair.
9 p.m. — The food has arrived. We eat on the couch and talk about how crazy work has been and what we'll do this weekend. Maybe we'll try a new restaurant or go to the spa. One thing I've noticed about keeping this Money Diary is just how boring my life has been recently. Most of my time is spent at work or on my way to and from work, with very little energy to do much else. I could use a few mental health days, but that will have to wait until this project stabilizes.
9:30 p.m. — You guessed it: We watch another episode of Succession in bed and fall asleep by 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6 a.m. — I wake up and stay in bed later than usual. Today is one of those days that I'd like to work from home. My bed is warm and comfy, and I don't feel like wearing anything but sweats. I come to my senses (after all, I washed my hair and shouldn't let it go to waste!) and start getting ready for work. I'm down to the last few drops of my Sunday Riley C.E.O brightening serum, and I'm really gonna miss this one! I've been loving my skin after using it (Sunday Riley, if you're reading this, sponsor me please). I might cave and incorporate this one into my routine. I throw on a pair of black trousers, a houndstooth blazer, and a camisole, shove my black heels into my gym bag, and head out.
7:20 a.m. — I stop to fill my transit card for next month. I'm a couple days early, but I anticipate long lines on the first of the month.
7:45 a.m. — Despite sleeping later than usual and making a stop to fill up my transit card, I arrive at work around the same time. I make another coffee and sip it at my desk before even opening my computer. I chat with a teammate about how we feel about our work, the company, culture, and the hours we put in. We both joined the company a few months ago, and it's nice to hear that the reservations I've been having are substantiated — and to bond with a colleague beyond small talk. Then we both snap back to the reality of our work and head into meetings.
12 p.m. — I heat up my lunch and eat it quickly, because I have a two-hour meeting starting at 12:30 p.m. I contemplate getting a coffee, too, but don't want to risk turning myself into a Late With Starbucks meme.
2:30 p.m. — After my meeting, I treat myself to an almond milk cappuccino from a hipster coffee place. The implementation I'm working on is delayed by a few days, so I need extra energy to write emails and update our project plan. $4.25
5 p.m. — I rush out of work to make my 6 p.m. HIIT class. It only take about 20 minutes to get to the studio, but I like to arrive early to change, drink water, and stretch before class.
7 p.m. — After HIIT, I see that I've got about a dozen missed calls from work regarding the project implementation. Apparently, drama has ensued, and I need to head back to the office to take care of it. It's nothing serious, but a bunch of people much higher up than me are making a huge deal out of something small. Apparently, it can't wait until morning. Super.
8:30 p.m. — I'm at the office for an extra hour — maybe a little more — to resolve the issue. S. picks me up when I'm done, and I vent and cry the whole way home. The last few weeks have finally caught up to me. A few months ago, I made a difficult decision to leave my old job in order to advance my career. I love what I do, but the new organization is culturally different than my previous one, and I can't help but make comparisons and feel regret, especially in moments like this.
9 p.m. — S. has already prepared dinner, which is couscous bowls with tomatoes, avocado, and mock chicken. It's good, but I'm still not in a great mood. We eat on the couch and watch an episode of Suits (not sure why; neither of us likes this show). I do my evening skin-care routine, and we go to the bedroom. I know I won't sleep well tonight even though I'm tired. I set my morning alarm and fall asleep more easily than I thought I would.
Daily Total: $4.25
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