A Week In Montreal, Canada, On A $60,000 Salary

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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.
From healthcare, to transportation, to food and drink, the norms and culture of spending (and saving) can vary from country to country. To see how women's spending habits differ — and remain constant — around the world, we're featuring international diaries this week.
Today: a managing editor working in digital media in Canada who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on cacti. Editor's note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Occupation: Managing Editor
Industry: Digital Media
Age: 25
Location: Montreal, Canada
Salary: $60,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,400
Freelance Income (Monthly): $974
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $584.79 for my half. (I live with my boyfriend, M., and we split the rent.)
Student Loan Payment: $311
Health Insurance: $92
Utilities: $77
Cable & Internet: $40
Phone Bill: $40
Opus Card: $66
Gym Membership: $42
Spotify: $12.50. (I share with my boyfriend and best friend – they buy me spontaneous sweet treats in return!)
Netflix: $0. (Thanks, Dad!)
Savings: At least $200/month for travel and emergency expenses.
Retirement: ~$200. My work offers an RRSP account and they match my contributions.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I wake up slowly this morning. My boyfriend, M., usually leaves for work around the same time as me, but he has early mornings on Tuesdays and is out the door before I even open my eyes. I find it easier to get ready when I have the apartment to myself, so I take the opportunity to doze later than I usually do.
8 a.m. — Okay, I dozed a bit longer than I meant to. I quickly throw on clean clothes, chug a glass of water with lemon, make a Nespresso, and head out the door to work.
9:15 a.m. — I make it to the metro station and realize my Opus card has demagnetized and wiped my monthly pass. This is a bit unfortunate, because it's only mid-month and a monthly pass costs $85. I decide to deal with it later, and buy a one-way pass just to get myself to work. It's kind of a long commute to my office, but I always have a book with me, so I don't mind. Right now I'm reading A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain. $3
10 a.m. — Arrive at the office and immediately make another coffee. We have free Keurig and Nespresso pods here, which my wallet is eternally grateful for. I also munch on a freebie Clif Bar from the kitchen. I didn't have time to eat before leaving home, and I never skip breakfast!
11:30 a.m. — I was recently promoted to Managing Editor at the publication I work for. While I'm based in Montreal, the main office is in New York, and I find myself traveling back and forth a lot to coordinate with the team there. I decide to apply for a Nexus trusted traveler card to make airport security less of a headache. To complete the application, I have to write down the addresses of every apartment I've lived in over the last five years, which makes me realize I've moved a lot! $50
1 p.m. — A few of my coworkers are going to grab lunch at an izakaya next to our office. I tag along and order gyozas, a bowl of ramen, and a small Sapporo. I have psoriasis, so I usually try to avoid gluten (which irritates it), but I can't say no to noodles and a cold draft on a rainy afternoon. $30
4 p.m. — Even though I've had office jobs my entire professional life, I still find it hard to remain focused while sitting at a desk all day. Sometimes I get up and go for a quick walk around the office, but today I opt for a walk to the café around the corner for a soy latte and a vegan peanut butter brownie. $8
6:15 p.m. — Home time! I head to the metro and hope my Opus card will magically work this time, but no such luck. I buy another one-way pass and head home. I'll deal with my Opus card on the weekend. $3
7 p.m. — Ah, I love walking through the door after a long day at work. As an introvert, there's nothing better than having a few hours completely alone to recharge. I pour myself a glass of wine, dig the vegan brownie out of my backpack, and put on last night's episode of Big Brother Canada. (Don't @ me! A little mindless TV helps me unwind.)
8 p.m. — I check my emails and get a little freelance work in before M. comes home. Although I'm a full-time magazine editor, I still enjoy freelance writing on the side. My current freelance beat is food and restaurant reviews, and I love it. I live in one of the food capitals of Canada and will take any excuse to dine out more frequently!
9:15 p.m. — M. gets home from work and we prepare dinner together. He works in finance and always gets home pretty late. We prepare a kale salad with smoked tofu, various vegetables, flax seeds, and a dijon apple cider vinegar dressing.
10 p.m. — I make a cup of slippery elm tea (it's supposed to help with psoriasis) and we lazily sink into the couch while watching This Hour Has 22 Minutes – which is basically Canada's answer to SNL. I start to doze off and M. suggests we crawl into bed.
Daily Total: $94

Day Two

8 a.m. — It's spring, but it snowed all night! My office is super relaxed about taking snow days, so I decide to work from home. I don't have to log on until 10 a.m., so I allow myself to snooze a bit longer.
9:30 a.m. — It's still snowing! I can't believe it. It has felt so much like summer lately and I really thought we were out of the woods. Sigh. I log on, check my emails, and continue working on a brainstorm that I'm going over with my team tomorrow.
10:30 a.m. — I make myself a glass of warm water with lemon and a glass of fresh pressed celery juice, which I drink while watching the news and cuddling with my cats. Then I make myself a Nespresso and get back to work on my brainstorm. Some of the editors at work let me know that they're also working from home. I'm still adjusting to being a manager and sometimes forget that people have to report to me!
12:30 p.m. — I'm getting hungry and decide to order a pizza and take my lunch a bit early. I order a gluten-free vegan pizza with pineapple, jalapeño, and pesto. I pour myself a glass of wine (work-from-home perks!) and dig in while watching Love on Netflix. $19.25
3:30 p.m. — M. texts me to let me know he's leaving work early – a pleasant surprise! He lets me know that he's picked up celeriac and mushrooms and will be taking care of dinner tonight!
5 p.m. — I power through the last few hours of work and punctuate my day by browsing Amazon. I order a book about natural wine and a tub of magnesium chloride, which is supposed to help clear up psoriasis. I've had pretty bad psoriasis for a few years now and am constantly trying new natural remedies and supplements. The cost adds up quickly, which is unfortunate. I wish Kim Kardashian would share her psoriasis-fighting tips! $56.33
6 p.m. — I check my email one last time and log off for the night. I have a bad habit of checking my email at all hours, but I try to make a conscious effort to have quiet time every night. M. and I open a bottle of wine and we hang out while he prepares dinner. Since we're already in the kitchen, I decide to make energy balls to get me through the rest of the week and my upcoming flight to New York.
8:30 p.m. — After lazily cooking for nearly three hours, we sit down to honeyed carrots, marinated mushrooms, a heaping kale salad, and sliced celeriac and radishes with vegan caviar and sour cream. It's quite the feast! I'm very lucky that M. loves cooking. We've been together for six years and his culinary skills have only gotten better.
9:45 p.m. — We move to the couch to watch an old CSI rerun before I head off to bed. My boss from New York is coming to the Montreal office tomorrow morning and I want to get in nice and early to prepare for her arrival.
Daily Total: $75.58

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — I toss and turn all night. I have a bad habit of listening to Forensic Files on Netflix while falling asleep... I find the narrator's voice so soothing, but sometimes, unsurprisingly, it gives me awful nightmares! I make a mental note to finally download Headspace instead and then allow myself to fall back asleep for a bit longer.
7:30 a.m. — I reluctantly hop out of bed and chug a lemon water and a celery juice. I'll get coffee (and a free granola bar) when I get to work. I quickly throw on an easy go-to outfit, wash my face, fix my hair, and head out the door after kissing M. and my cats goodbye.
8 a.m. — There's no way I'm making it to the office on time if I take the metro now. I decide to Uber, even though it will cost me a fortune to drive crosstown. I don't Uber that often, though, so this one time is fine. $27.59
8:35 a.m. — I make it to the office after a winding drive (Montreal construction sometimes makes it hard to navigate!). Thankfully, my colleague from New York hasn't arrived yet and I'm the first one here. I make myself a Keurig coffee and tidy up the spare desk that we keep for visitors.
12 p.m. — My colleague arrives and we head out for a team lunch at a cool brasserie down the street. We split a bottle of wine ($70) and order a bunch of different bites to share ($85). I'm usually the one to expense team lunches, but since my boss is in town, she takes care of it.
2 p.m. — We head back to the office to finish out the day. I contemplate picking up a cold brew on our walk back but settle for a Keurig instead. It's not nearly as satisfying but, well, it's free.
3:30 p.m. — I finished my Anthony Bourdain book the other day, and so this afternoon I browse Amazon for something new. I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately and am craving a light-hearted beach read. I opt for Sophie Kinsella's new one, Surprise Me, and throw in Jen Agg's I Hear She's a Real Bitch to qualify for free shipping. $47.52
5:30 p.m. — My office does flex hours, so since I came in so early, I take the opportunity to duck out a bit sooner than normal. I had plans to meet a friend for dinner and drinks, but she bailed last minute. It doesn't bother me, though. I've been feeling a bit run down and tired this week and am happy to just go home and chill out with my cats. Is that a Taylor Swift lyric? Whoops.
6:30 p.m. — I'm greeted by both of my cats as I walk through the door. I give them each a quick scratch and immediately search for a snack. I remember the energy balls I made last night and grab a couple to munch on while I do a clay mask and text with my mom. After lounging around a bit, I decide to pull out my yoga mat and do a pilates Youtube video. I've been trying so hard to maintain a steady workout routine lately, but I'm finding it really difficult to stick with. I go out of town a lot, and that always breaks my habit. I'm considering traveling with a yoga mat to encourage working out while away from home.
8 p.m. — After I put away my yoga mat, I plop onto my bed and cue up the latest episode of Riverdale on Netflix. This show seems to pivot plotlines every few episodes but I am shamefully hooked.
9 p.m. — I hop in the shower and start thinking about what I should make for dinner. I'm not very hungry after the huge lunch we had at work, so I pour myself a celery juice and prepare a salad for M.
10:05 p.m. — M. comes home late tonight. Bummer. I chat with him while he eats his salad. Turns out he had a bad day at work, so we each have a Scotch to unwind and talk about our weekend plans before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $75.11

Day Four

7 a.m. — I decide to make up for yesterday's late start and jump out of bed without hitting snooze once. I get 20 minutes of at-home pilates in before knocking back a lemon water and celery juice and watching CNN. American news scares me a little bit right now, but I think it's responsible to be informed. I make a Nespresso, check my emails, flick through Instagram, and make a salad and a smoothie to bring to work before I start getting ready.
9:15 a.m. — M. drops me off at the metro and I make my way to work from there. We absolutely love our neighborhood, but it's about a 20-minute walk to the nearest metro station. Lovely in the summertime, but not so great during the snowy-slash-rainy springtime. I try to swipe my faulty Opus card and it magically works again, which is a relief!
9:55 a.m. — My office does free bagel breakfasts on Fridays, but I feel like I've consumed too much gluten this week (and it's irritating my psoriasis), so I stop at the gluten-free bakery across the street and pick up bagels there so I don't feel left out. They don't compare to real Montreal bagels, but they'll do. I keep a bottle of Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning at my desk for days like these, which I sprinkle onto the bagel in an attempt to trick my palate into thinking I'm eating the real deal. It kind of works. $5.45
10 a.m. — One of my colleagues arrives with his dog! Day = made. My office does "dog days," where editors can bring their dogs to the office for a visit. It's probably my favorite job perk.
12:30 p.m. — I ordered a vintage Louis Vuitton Mini Speedy bag on eBay last week, and it arrives at the office just in time for the weekend! It shipped from Japan, so I had budgeted for a hefty duty fee, but, pleasant surprise: they don't charge me anything! I've been collecting vintage Louis Vuitton since I was 17. I sometimes justify my purchases by checking the resale value on the particular bag I'm interested in. Even after using a Louis for a few years, I can almost always sell it for more than I paid for it.
1:30 p.m. — I take a quick break from work to put together my salad and bring it back to my desk so I can continue working. I usually make really elaborate salads for lunch and dinner but it's Friday, and our supplies from the weekend are running low. It's mainly semi-wilted kale, cucumber, radish, and flax seeds. I refuse to call it a sad desk lunch, even though it kinda is.
2:45 p.m. — I take another quick break from working to get up and stretch my legs, make a Keurig coffee, and have another half of a gluten-free bagel. The day is flying by and I still have so much to do before I leave for the weekend!
5 p.m. — I finished up most of my work and head out for the day. I usually try to leave the office by 4 on Fridays to make it to my freelance social media consulting gig at 5, but sometimes it doesn't work out. I jump in an Uber and let them know I'm going to be a bit late. $18.96
5:30 p.m. — I arrive at the office and grab a spare desk. I've been helping a pretty big local business get their social media strategy off the ground. I work from 5 to 9 on Fridays and a few hours from home throughout the week. The pay is stellar and the managers have wine and cheese nights most Friday evenings – win!
9 p.m. — I text my friends to see if they're ready to meet up. We're having dinner at one of my all-time favorite restaurants tonight so they can prep me for dogsitting. They have the sweetest shiba inu in the world, and I always take care of her when they go on vacation. M. and I drive to the restaurant and find parking almost immediately. It's free after 9, so we don't have to pay.
9:30 p.m. — The restaurant doesn't take reservations and is notoriously permanently busy, but one of our angelic friends showed up early and requested a table in advance, so we're seated right away once we arrive in a comfy corner booth. We catch up and order a ton of plates to share and a bottle of wine. This restaurant is one of the best in Canada (literally – I think it ranks fourth) and has an excellent wine selection, so we ask the waiter to surprise us with a bottle.
12 a.m. — M. pays for our share of the dinner ($150 for both of us), and then we say goodbye to everyone and head home. We fall asleep almost immediately.
Daily Total: $24.41

Day Five

8 a.m. — We wake up and it's absolutely gorgeous outside! You'd have no idea that it was icy and snowy just a few days ago. We decide to take M.'s convertible out for a spin to enjoy the sunshine.
9 a.m. — First stop: coffee. We stop at one of our favorite coffee shops for almond milk lattes and a chocolate chip cookie to share. My treat. $12
9:30 a.m. — We continue onto a plant warehouse we've been meaning to go to. It's about an hour outside of the city but apparently they have the best cactus selection in the surrounding area and we've been wanting to find a cactus for our bedroom. It ends up being a gorgeous drive and we score two cacti – one for us and one for M.'s sister who's having a birthday party tonight. $45
1 p.m. — As we're driving back to the city, we remember that some friends recently bought a house in the town we're driving through. We text them and end up meeting up and enjoying the sun, wine, and a nice catch up session in their sprawling backyard (#goals), before heading back to Montreal.
5 p.m. — Back in Montreal. A new bookstore opened up down the street from our apartment so we pop in for their opening. We end up having a few glasses of complimentary wine and I pick up a Zadie Smith book for M.'s sister's birthday and A Wrinkle in Time for me. $31
7:30 p.m. — We head back to our apartment, get ready for M.'s sister's birthday, and head over to her house. It's a “margarita party,” which just literally means everyone is drinking and mixing margs. I'm usually a wine girl, but it turns out to be a fun change of pace. We also eat a ton of guac and chips. M.'s sister is a vegetarian like me, so there's always great snacks at her parties.
12 a.m. — After a fun evening of drinking and dancing, we head home, first stopping to pick up late night veggie dogs at a local 24-hour greasy spoon. $5.80
2 a.m. — We get into bed and fall asleep watching a random comedy show on Netflix. Today was a great day!
Daily Total: $93.80

Day Six

8 a.m. — We're up way too early for a Sunday morning, but we booked a tour at an innovative rooftop farm and don't want to miss it. We rush around each other to get ready and then head out the door. It's another absolutely gorgeous day, so we take advantage of it by putting the top down on the convertible.
9 a.m. — The tour ends up being way cooler than we expected. We sign up for their weekly subscription service (no charge to sign up) and score free greens and bananas from the farm!
12 p.m. — M. and I drop the car at home and head out for a day of exploring our neighborhood. It's still sunny and warm, so we want to take advantage of it! First stop: a delicious little taco joint. We each get two tacos, churros, and coffee (my treat), and then continue on walking. $17
1 p.m. — We make it to our favorite farmer's market and pick up groceries for the week ($27). We get extra beers ($6), iced coffee ($5.50), and macarons ($6), and then walk over to the Lachine Canal for an impromptu picnic in the sun. (We split the cost of everything.) $22.25
3 p.m. — I have early drink plans with a friend in a few hours, so we decide to walk back to the apartment so that I can get ready to go. It's about a half hour walk, but we don't mind – the weather has put us both in such a great mood! I silently wonder why we choose to live in a country that's below zero for half the year.
5:30 p.m. — I meet up with my friend, A., at the wine bar around the corner from my apartment. She used to be my boss at my current job, which is hilarious to think about because we have become very close friends since then. We order a bottle of wine ($70) and appetizers ($20) and catch up. We both travel often for work and for pleasure, so we always have new stories to share. (We split the cost.) $45
7:30 p.m. — A. takes an Uber to meet her mom for dinner and I walk home. I still have to pack for my work trip to New York tomorrow and get to bed. I'm leaving for the airport at a seriously unholy hour.
9 p.m. — I'm finally all packed and in bed with my book. I read for a little bit and try to fall asleep as quickly as possible.
Daily Total: $84.25

Day Seven

4 a.m. — I'm up super early to make my flight to NYC. I double check that I have everything, kiss M. goodbye, and head outside to wait for the car service to pick me up and take me to the airport.
6 a.m. — After a 45-minute wait, I'm finally though security. (This is why I need a Nexus pass!!!) At this point I'm starving, so I pick up an iced Americano from Starbucks, a Clif Bar, and a Smartwater. My skin becomes super sensitive and dry when I fly (thanks, psoriasis), so I try to stay as hydrated as possible. $14
6:15 a.m. — I'm exhausted from my early start, so I take the opportunity to snooze during the flight.
9:30 a.m. — Made it to JFK! I pick up a juice ($6) before getting into the Uber to the city ($65). I don't know what it is about NYC, but every time I visit I end up eating way too much pizza, so I try to counterbalance it with greens as much as I can. ($71 expensed)
11 a.m. — It takes forever to get to my hotel. I quickly change my clothes and store my luggage. Then I head out, load my MetroCard with $10, and take the subway to the office. ($10 expensed)
11:30 a.m. — I get to the office and say hi to my NY-based colleagues. Then I run to their kitchen to get a cold brew. The New York office has cold brew on tap! It may be my favorite thing about visiting.
12 p.m. — I was supposed to have lunch with my colleagues, but I'm interviewing a potential new editor in an hour and don't want to be late to meet with them. I decide to run to Whole Foods and pick up a quick salad. I remember one of my colleagues' birthday is tomorrow, so I also pick up a cute little birthday cake for him. ($16.75 expensed)
1 p.m. — I meet with the first candidate for the job. The interview goes well and we find out we're heading to the same press event later this week! I guess New York is smaller than I thought!
5 p.m. — I head out a bit earlier than I would if I was working from Montreal. I was up at 4 this morning and want to try and take a quick nap and shower before the event I have tonight.
5:30 p.m. — Back at my hotel, I contemplate going out to try and find pizza, but I order ramen from Seamless instead and slurp it quickly while getting ready. One of my old friends from Canada is hosting a Scotch-tasting press event tonight and invited me to check it out. I'm bringing another Canadian expat who I haven't seen in a few years. Although I'm exhausted, it should be a fun night! ($23 expensed)
7 p.m. — I decide to walk to the event from my hotel rather than take the subway to see some NYC sights. I don't know if I could ever live here (I am a Montrealaise through and through), but I always love taking in everything the city has to offer while I'm here.
7:30 p.m. — I meet up with my friends, S. and K., and head into the event. It's already full of editors and influencers, but there are plenty of Scotch cocktails to go around.
9:30 p.m. — After a super informative Scotch tasting, S. and I say goodbye to K. and head out to find pizza. We're a little tipsy after all the Scotch and still have plenty to talk about, so we grab two slices each (my treat) and find a stoop to continue our catch up. $12
10:30 p.m. — I hate to call it a night, but I have work tomorrow. I say goodbye to S. and head back to my hotel. I decide to stop at a deli along the way and pick up a coconut water and a granola bar for the morning. Then I fall asleep watching American Netflix (the selection in Canada is surprisingly very different!). $3.50
Daily Total: $29.50
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