A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $45,310 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.
Today: an independent PR consultant working in communications who makes $45,310 per year and spends some of her money this week on an A&W Mama Burger.
Editor's Note: All dollar amounts have been converted from CAD to USD.
Occupation: Independent PR Consultant
Industry: Communications
Age: 24
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $45,310
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,775 (My income fluctuates, depending on what projects I'm working on, so this is an average. I'm self-employed, which means taxes aren't deducted automatically. I put aside 30% for tax time.)
Gender Identity: Woman
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I'm so fortunate to live with my dad and stepmom, who also pay for Spotify and Netflix.)
Student Loans: $0 (I paid off $22,655 in student debt within 11 months! I was lucky enough to receive a living will totaling $7,550 from my grandmother. I put that toward my debt, plus $1,200 every month. Half of the loan was paid by the time the federal interest kicked in six months after I graduated. At month 11, I got a massive tax return of $2,265 and finished paying off the whole thing.)
Phone: $55.13
TFSA: $755
Therapy: $211 (I go once a week.)
Emergency Fund: $113
Globe and Mail Subscription: $22.66
Donation To The Death, Sex and Money Podcast: $7.55

Day One

10 a.m. — I wake up with terrible diarrhea, so all I eat for breakfast is a banana. Toronto summers are too hot and literally make me sick.
11:30 a.m. — I realize on my long, 4.5-mile walk in the Toronto heat (I'm a fitness prodigy) that I'm going to be late to meet my half-sister and her new fiancé. I hop on the bus to get there faster but realize I left my wallet at home. I get on without paying the fare! It's like I've been training my whole life for this moment. (Fare evading is the one crime I get a weird amount of joy from.)
11:45 a.m. — I arrive at Second Cup. I don't want my half-sister's fiancé to think I'm cheap, so I pretend I'm a dainty flower who is content to drink water. He doesn't buy my bullshit and pays for my coconut iced coffee. I like him already!
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1 p.m. — I take a Lyft back home because I have a 1:30 p.m. call and won't make it there on the TTC in time. I make a few work calls from the car. I don't have an office, so I work where I can. Often, I meet clients at their offices or at coffee shops. Occasionally, I'll go to a coworking space. $13.96
2:30 p.m. — After my call, I make myself a kale, blueberry, banana, spinach, and protein powder smoothie. I drink it while watching an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race from Season 5 and almost spit it out because the drama is so intense.
4 p.m. — I nervously eat hummus and crackers while breaking bad news to people I work with. The hummus vibes must help, because nobody is mad at me. Everyone is so understanding!
7:30 p.m. — I go for Indian food with my stepmom, boyfriend, and best friend. These people pay for me constantly, so I thought it would be nice to buy them dinner. Hence, the hella expensive bill. $117.81
9:30 p.m. — My boyfriend and I are on our way to a friend's birthday party empty-handed, so we book it to the LCBO before it closes. He buys a very lovely rosé for her AND a nice gift bag. He's a keeper.
Daily Total: $131.77

Day Two

11:30 a.m. — I drink another homemade smoothie and coffee while watching Stranger Things. Season three is out, and my boyfriend wants to watch it with me, so I need to catch up.
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2:30 p.m. — I eat leftover chicken and continue to watch Stranger Things. This show is insane!
5:30 p.m. — I'm dying in the Toronto humidity on my way back from a meeting and demand that a Starbucks barista gift me a free iced water. I cannot deal with this place. I need to become rich enough to buy a cottage in Muskoka and just live there all summer.
6:30 p.m. — I binge leftover Indian food from last night's big-spender dinner, along with more Stranger Things. I cannot believe how good this show is! I'm almost done with Season 1.
7:30 p.m. — I boil some water and squeeze in a lemon for my favorite stomach soother. Hot lemon water is the best way to get over the nausea of a hot summer day.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — I get ready for an appointment with a life coach who specializes in emotional freedom technique (EFT) or, as she calls it, "meditation for extroverts." It involves a method of tapping on acupuncture points to help alleviate stress and anxiety. You may have seen it on an episode of Jane the Virgin. Anyway, I met a coach at a conference, and she is super-cool, so I thought I'd give it a shot!
11:45 a.m. — OMG. This is why I fare evade and do not feel bad at all. First of all, I hop on a streetcar that goes into a subway station, but the subway is closed between four stations, so I get on a streetcar to go to an open subway station. Then I discover that this streetcar is stopping earlier than expected, because there's a street closure. So I walk to the subway station, which will take me to a bus that will get me to my appointment. But of course, the subway doesn't come for SEVEN minutes. So now I'm running late and am so tired of this bullshit that I call a Lyft. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CITY? $10.94
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12:30 p.m. — I meet the life coach, and we discuss my values and ways I can commit to acting on these values. I'm learning a lot about myself and how I want to live my life. She also teaches me the basics of EFT (used by Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg, so you know it's good). It's very helpful in calming down the anxiety I feel about going to my half-sister's engagement party later this afternoon. It's a really great session. She usually asks for $125 per hour, but offers me a family/friends discount. $49.09
1:30 p.m. — I'm super hungry, so I run into a Tim Hortons while waiting for my Lyft. I won a $5 gift card during a Canada Day trivia contest, so I get luxurious with my order. Not only do I get an everything bagel with cream cheese, but I also get myself a plain old croissant just because. I eat them in the Lyft on my way home to get ready for the engagement party. Both the bagel and croissant are mediocre, but I feel like Marie Antoinette anyway. $11.77
2:30 p.m. — At the party on time, feasting on ring cookies, sushi, cupcakes, and fruit cups. I run into my Orthodox Jewish former step-family, whom I haven't seen in 15 years (it's complicated). They're strangely happy to see me! It's a very positive and food-filled event.
5 p.m. — My stepmom forgot to buy bananas and asks me to pick them up on my way home. I get seven, enough for most of the week between the two of us. $1.79
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7 p.m. — I eat a home-cooked dinner with my stepmom, and we discuss all the gossip from the engagement party. I only see my biological mom occasionally and, according to my great-aunt, she has a new lover. In the way that Orthodox Jews can have a lover (i.e. just a friend of the opposite sex whom they see a few times a week and don't touch but will probably marry). My stepmom and I speculate on that tidbit at length.
Daily Total: $73.59

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — It's breakfast, and you're thinking I'm going for the smoothie, but nope. I change it up and have oatmeal with blueberries and chia seeds. Gotta keep them bowels moving after the engagement-party revelry.
12 p.m. — A credit card with a $3,000 limit arrives for my business (I don't want to put my personal credit on the line). Because I signed up for a business account with a certain bank, I receive a $150 refund on my $600 incorporation fee.
12:30 p.m. — I've been producing a podcast with one of my clients all morning and forget to bring a lunch, so I buy a Mama Burger combo at A&W. I'm super craving meat. $8.45
3 p.m. — I'm regretting that Mama Burger, fries, and root beer. My client makes me ginger tea to soothe my stomach.
4:30 p.m. — I buy a pack of 10 space-themed (!) stamps. I'm a mail fiend and have just finished my pack of 100 stamps. I'm sending a thank-you note to the director of an accelerator program I recently finished for a new business I'm working on. People are so impressed when you send them a handwritten card with a wax seal. $7.68
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5:30 p.m. — I cave and make my daily smoothie, this time for dinner. I have my first game of ultimate Frisbee with my new recreational league, so I want to make sure I'm strong and ready to go/not hangry when I get there.
7 p.m. — People think ultimate is a stoner game, but it is so hard. I run so much, sweat so much, and fall and make an idiot of myself the whole time. But I have a lot of fun!
9 p.m. — I'm very hungry when I get home. I make myself a yogurt parfait (Greek yogurt, blueberries, honey, and maple syrup) while continuing to binge Stranger Things. I've made it to season two!
Daily Total: $16.13

Day Five

9 a.m. — I've been doing pre-interviews with guests for a podcast I'm producing, so I eat oatmeal and have coffee while talking to a super-cool woman who will be on the show.
12:30 p.m. — I cannot get enough of Stranger Things. I watch two episodes while eating an egg-and-spinach salad, an apple, two clementines, and a hot chocolate (despite the disgusting summer heat, I'm craving one #PMS).
6 p.m. — I have a banana for a snack. There is some weird bamboo-like thing growing inside this banana, so I eat around it.
7 p.m. — My boyfriend and I make lettuce-wrap tacos at his place. (He buys all the ingredients for under $10.) They don't turn out well. I find a Halloween pack of M&M's to redeem our dinner.
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8:30 p.m. — We watch that Jonah Hill directorial debut, Mid90s. We're popcorn fiends, so boyfriend bought a new kind for us to try. We find it to be bland and the movie to be meh.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

9 a.m. — I have one hour to get from my boyfriend's place to another podcast pre-interview with a money expert, then to the gym to meet my friend/client who desperately wants me to try Canada's latest fitness craze, F45.
9:45 a.m. — In a Lyft on my way to the gym. I eat a banana and a sugar-free carrot muffin my boyfriend's mum made, and it's delicious. $12.54
10 a.m. — The first week of F45 is only $12.80, so why not? My first class is 45 minutes of an intense circuit workout. Definitely worth $12.80 for a week! $12.80
11:55 a.m. — A guy I'm supposed to meet for work at a coffee shop bails on me FIVE MINUTES BEFORE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO MEET. But being a professional, I'm here early and already buying a coffee and pomegranate salad. The worst part is this guy flaked on me yesterday, too. He's canceled. $9.78
12 p.m. — I fare evade home in a huff so I can eat my pomegranate salad and watch Stranger Things in peace.
4:30 p.m. — Weekly therapy session. We mainly chat about the engagement party and how it was much more positive than I expected.
5 p.m. — One of my clients pays me for part of a job ($1,130). I take the HST ($130) and put it in my HST account, take roughly 30% off the payment ($300) and put it in my taxes account, and then put $600 in my savings account to have ready for my monthly TFSA payment.
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9 p.m. — I review and pay my credit card charges every Monday. This week, I see my website-renewal fee and pay it off. $188.79
7 p.m. — My stepmom and I have wings for dinner. We discuss my frustration with the asshole who canceled on me.
Daily Total: $223.91

Day Seven

10 a.m. — F45 is strength today, and it's pretty hard! I follow it with my typical smoothie.
2:15 p.m. — I fare evade on multiple TTC vehicles.
3 p.m. — It's time for my annual tarot reading, and it's fabulous and very positive! (Unlike last year's, which was NOT.) The reading says I’m stepping out of old habits and mindsets and moving toward becoming influential or a leader to others. I think it's referring to the fact that I used to be a black-and-white thinker. I was obsessed with logic and rationality, and now I’m much more open to feelings and emotions. This is a big shift for me in the past year, specifically. So much self-reflection this week! Between coaching, therapy, and tarot, I'm analyzed out. $30.21
7 p.m. — My stepmom and I have dinner and talk about her new screenwriting course.
Daily Total: $30.21
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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 behavior.
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