A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $56,000 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 writer working in fashion media who makes $56,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a brownie.
Occupation: Writer
Industry: Fashion Media
Age: 28
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $56,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,653
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $900 (This is my half for a one-bedroom condo I share with my partner, C.)
Electricity: $30
Internet: $45
Student Loans: $0 (My parents covered about 50% of my undergraduate degree, and I paid the rest, along with a small provincial loan that I paid off last year. I also paid for a post-graduate program three years ago, which took up a big chunk of my savings.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm covered by C.'s benefits.)
Car Insurance: $150
Phone: $79.10
Netflix & Disney+: $0 (C. pays.)
Apple Storage: $1.99
Gym: $30
Humane Society Donation: $20
RRSP: $50 (I started putting in a low amount when I was working part-time a few years ago and haven't gotten around to increasing my monthly contribution. I've saved $3,500 so far.)
Tax-Free-Savings Account: $800 to $1,000 (I have $7,000 saved.)
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $79
Website Domain: $103
Note: C. and I each contribute $1,200 into a joint account that we use for shared expenses, including rent, internet, and groceries.

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up slowly. I have a flexible schedule, and I'm starting later than usual today to avoid killing time before heading to dinner and the Celine Dion concert tonight.
8:30 a.m. — I shower and ease into my day while eating egg cups I made last night and an orange. I get dressed and do my morning makeup (Josh Rosebrook tinted moisturizer, Benefit concealer, Glossier Lash Slick and Cloud Paint, plus extra eye liner for tonight's event). I tap my prepaid Presto card and do my usual public transit commute.
9:45 a.m. — Before work, I stop by the post office to mail a Christmas gift (a vanilla gift sack from The Body Shop) to a friend who lives in New York City. $19.75
9:55 a.m. — I get to my desk and settle in by checking emails and performance on the weekend's stories, then split the rest of my morning between writing stories and meetings.
12:30 p.m. — My company provides daily meals and snacks with plenty of salad and meat options, so I grab lunch from the kitchen. Not having to pack food on office days is a godsend.
1 p.m. — I go to my desk, where I get back to the grind, stopping for a snack break every so often and to chat with my colleagues.
5 p.m. — Most of my coworkers are gone, and I'm starting to feel unproductive, so I take a break to read Money Diaries before finishing up my final story. Once my last piece is submitted, I hop on the streetcar to meet a group of media professionals for dinner ahead of the concert. I'm nervous because I haven't met many of them before, and I'm not a huge fan of networking, but it's a good opportunity to get to know more people in my field.
7 p.m. — Drinks and dinner arrive (paid for by the event host), and I have no reason to feel awkward. People in the fashion industry often get a bad reputation, but the women I've worked with have been nothing but kind and supportive, and they continue to be so tonight. We chat, snack, and drink before heading to the concert.
8:30 p.m. — Celine arrives on stage, and she's everything I hoped she would be! I've never been a huge fan, but man, is the woman talented. She goes through her hits, and the crowd goes insane. I've never seen such love from an audience, and she appears genuinely moved by them. It's a rare and super-fun night that makes me appreciate how far I've come in my career. Sitting among these top industry professionals, I feel lucky to have finally reached a point where I actually feel like I've “made it.”
10:45 p.m. — I jump on the train home and force myself to do my nighttime routine: brush teeth, wash face with Meow Meow Tweet's charcoal bar soap, apply The Ordinary 0.2% Retinol In Squalane, Sephora Collection Nourishing Moisturizer, and 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream.
12 a.m. — I promptly fall into bed with C., still a little drunk and very happy.
Daily Total: $19.75

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling surprisingly refreshed, despite not sleeping well after the concert. My morning routine is the same as yesterday.
8:12 a.m. — At the office, I grab a salad from the kitchen and spend my day in and out of meetings and phone calls with my team.
4 p.m. — I gather up my things and leave work for the day. I'll be working from home tomorrow and am definitely looking forward to not having meetings. I pick up a brownie on the way home, and enjoy it on the streetcar, because I'm an adult and can have a brownie if I want to! $4.20
4:30 p.m. — Once I'm home, I do a 30-minute Pilates video on YouTube, followed by 20 minutes of gentle yoga to de-stress. When I'm done, I somehow wind up watching Disney videos for an hour, then quickly jump in the shower before having dinner with C. We reheat leftover chili from a couple nights ago and spend the rest of our evening relaxing in front of the TV.
8 p.m. — I do a couple loads of laundry and wrap Christmas presents while Netflix is on in the background. I also check my emails and see that my Presto card was automatically topped up today, and my credit card was charged $30. I do my nighttime routine and head to bed around 10 p.m. (yes, I'm an old lady). I read a few chapters of Big Little Lies for an upcoming book club before falling asleep around 11:30 p.m. $30
Daily Total: $34.20

Day Three

7 a.m. — My alarm sounds, and getting up early is not happening this morning. I snooze for another 20 minutes and eventually get up.
8 a.m. — The best part of working from home is staying in my comfiest clothes — and also getting stuff done without interruption. Anyone else find that you're more productive at home? I snack on a few egg muffins while I start my day.
12:30 p.m. — I break to heat up the last of my leftover chili while messaging my coworkers.
2 p.m. — Starbucks is in order. I drive to my nearest location and pick up an Earl Grey latte with almond milk, which I sip while I finish the last items on my to-do list. $5.59
4:30 p.m. — Work is done, and C. has plans to meet friends tonight, so I go see my sister, K., for dinner. I fill up my car with gas on the way and say a silent thanks that I only drive once or twice a week, so this tank should last me for the rest of the month. K. and I have shepherd's pie and chat about her upcoming exams (I do not miss that part of student life), then we play with her dog and watch too many episodes of holiday baking shows on the Food Network. I go home around 9 p.m. $47.80
10:30 p.m. — I do my nighttime routine, then 20 minutes of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube to wind down. I kiss C., who stays up playing video games, and get into bed.
Daily Total: $53.39

Day Four

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I get up on time today. I have three of my egg muffins and take my vitamins before doing the usual makeup and heading out the door by 8 a.m. I take the TTC as usual and tap my prepaid Presto card.
8:30 a.m. — At the office, I check out trending stories and get to writing until the urge for coffee hits. I run across the street to pick up an Americano. $3.70
10 a.m. — Back at my desk, where a few product samples arrive, and I spend the next little while organizing them. At lunch, I hang out with coworkers in the kitchen and fill up on veggies and salad garnished with bacon (because balance).
3 p.m. — This day is dragging and, of course, none of the contacts I'm waiting on have gotten back to me. But it's Friday, and my team spends the rest of the afternoon chatting and taking things easy.
4:30 p.m. — It's my dad's birthday, and my family is meeting up for dinner to celebrate. I go home and pick up C. and my car, then drive over to get my sister before going to my dad's place. My stepmom has cooked up an elaborate dinner for us and a bunch of my dad's friends, including roast beef, bacon-wrapped asparagus, zucchini fritters, and puff pastry hors d'oeuvres. Afterwards, we sing happy birthday and celebrate with raspberry cheesecake, my dad's favourite. The birthday gift I got him is only a mild success (apparently, he's never heard of Alexa devices before!), but the evening is a big success.
Daily Total: $3.70

Day Five

9 a.m. — I lounge in bed for a glorious hour, because I have no official plans for my Saturday. I make yogurt with granola for breakfast, then get dressed for yoga. My gym has a fantastic yoga teacher whose flows are quite tough, so I make a point to go every weekend morning.
11 a.m. — I'm finished with my class. I go to the grocery store to pick up a few supplies for the week ahead. I get blueberries, bananas, deli meat, Italian sausages, chips, granola bars, kombucha, soup, macaroni and cheese, plus prepared soup and an Indian lentil dish for when I'm feeling lazy. The total comes to $51.43, which I pay for with money from mine and C.'s joint account, so the bill is split. $25.72
11:45 a.m. — The hall organizer I ordered a couple weeks ago has been delivered! C. and I put the groceries away, then spend the next hour assembling the new furniture. To reward ourselves for a job well done, we have macaroni and cheese for lunch.
2 p.m. — The day has been productive enough, so I alternate between reading the last few chapters of Big Little Lies (very different from the TV show), watching the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and scrolling on my phone. I snack on salt and vinegar chips and an apple, then realize I may as well make dinner.
6:30 p.m. — I whip up scrambled eggs with ham and salad, because I'll never tire of breakfast for dinner. Then I get back to watching my show while C. plays video games for the rest of the night. I do my nighttime routine and fall asleep around 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $25.72

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — It's Sunday, another glorious day without plans ahead for me. Can you tell I'm an introvert? I wake up, lounge around the house for an hour, then climb back into bed with C., who is still asleep. When he finally wakes up, we fool around, then get out of bed for real.
10:30 a.m. — I have a craving for pancakes, so I throw together a Martha Stewart recipe I find online, and we feast on pancakes, ham, and fruit.
11:35 a.m. — C. and I tackle chores around the apartment, including laundry, dishes, and a quick wipe of the bathroom. There are many downsides to living in a 500-square-foot box, but the quick cleanup time is not one of them.
1 p.m. — C. has made plans for us to meet up with friends for lunch in Koreatown, so we get dressed and join them at the restaurant. I order bibimbap. C. orders fried chicken and black bean noodles, and he graciously pays for us. I let him have my yogurt drink that comes at the end of the meal as repayment.
3 p.m. — I still have a few people to cross off my Christmas shopping list, so I hit the mall. I stop at EB Games to pick up a gift card and keychain for my step brother ($63.12), Old Navy for a novelty T-shirt for my secret Santa ($11.04), and Justice for a sweater, unicorn T-shirt, and earrings on super-sale for my goddaughter ($24.26). $98.42
5 p.m. — I get home, and C. and I are hungry, so we make roasted sausage and sweet potatoes with a side of chard sautéed with garlic. We also make ourselves a couple of Pimm's cups, despite the fact that it's freezing outside. Both dinner and drinks turn out WAY better than I expected them to, and we tidy up feeling full and content.
7 p.m. — I spend a couple of hours watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Rose is the absolute best!), then crack open Educated by Tara Westover, which I picked up from the library. I read for a bit, do 20 minutes of yoga, then wind down before heading to bed around 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $98.42

Day Seven

7:10 a.m. — Mondays at the office are usually jam-packed, so I hop to it and quickly get dressed. I have a carrot muffin and an orange for breakfast and bring kombucha to drink at the office. I read Educated on the way to work and maybe shouldn't have started reading this quite so early in the day. (For anyone who is squeamish about blood or injury, this is definitely not the book for you. It's also quite heavy and could probably use a trigger warning for anyone who has dealt with domestic violence.)
8:30 a.m. — I start writing my first story, then spend a couple of hours in meetings going over upcoming content and what to expect in 2020.
12 p.m. — I hit up lunch with my coworkers for, yes, another salad. Everyone is pretty quiet. Mondays, am I right? I power through the rest of the day at my desk.
5 p.m. — I get home and continue reading Educated (I'm hooked) until C. arrives around 6:30 p.m. We make dinner together: pasta with zucchini and leftover sausage, but no cocktails this time.
8 p.m. — I shower, then watch another episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and hit the hay by 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $0
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

More from Work & Money