A Week In Toronto, Canada, On A $30,000 Income

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: a freelance writer working in fashion who makes $30,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on bubble tea.
Occupation: Freelance Writer
Industry: Fashion
Age: 28
Location: Toronto, Canada
Salary: ~$30,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): It varies depending on the project I'm working on, but usually between $1,200-$1,500
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $800 for my share of a one-bedroom apartment. My partner, L., earns significantly more than I do, so we split the cost of living expenses proportionately.
Student Loans: $0 (My small amount of student loans were paid off last year.)
Phone: $79.10
Car Insurance: $150
Netflix & Cable: $0 (I use my mom's account.)
Apple Storage: $1.99
QuickBooks Self-Employed App: $4.99
Joint Savings: $400 (This money goes into an account L. and I share for household expenses like groceries, internet, electricity, and gas.)
Savings: I have $3,100 in an RRSP and $2,500 in a tax-free savings account, but I'm trying to work on building these up this year.

Day One

8:40 a.m. — L.'s alarm goes off, waking me up as well. I'm not working on a project at the moment, so I've been enjoying sleeping in later than usual for the past week. I slowly get out of bed and make myself hot water with lemon and take my daily supplements to get my day started. For breakfast I have some fresh coffee and two vegan/gluten-free berry mini muffins that I made yesterday.
11 a.m. — After a couple hours relaxing and scrolling online, I get dressed and head over to my mom's. There's nobody at home to walk our family dog today, so I volunteer to spend the day with him. On my way over, I stop to fill up on gas and pay with a gift card that I redeemed using credit card points last month.
1 p.m. — At my mom's, I cook myself a quick lunch of a tomato, mushroom, and onion omelette after a walk outside with the pup. We spend some time playing, and a friend from high school stops by to catch up. She just got back from a two-week trip to Europe, so I live vicariously through her vacation recap and start mentally planning my next getaway. We hang out for a couple of hours before her jet lag kicks in and she decides to head home.
5:30 p.m. — My mom and sister get back, and after chatting with them for a little while I decide to head out and do some errands before meeting up with L. for dinner. I stop by the pharmacy and pick up my three-month supply of birth control pills. Since I unfortunately don't have insurance coverage as a freelancer, and I'm over the age of 25, I have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses like this one. $42.63
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6 p.m. — Head home and start putting together a rough outline for a piece that I'm pitching to one of my clients next week. I also start jotting down story ideas as an assignment for an interview I went to this past week. The interview went really well and would be for a full-time editor position, something I've been working towards for the past two years. Freelancing has been great, but I could definitely use the emotional and financial stability that comes with a permanent position.
7 p.m. — Walk over to a nearby sushi restaurant that just opened up in my neighborhood to meet L. after work. We order a sashimi platter, a couple of interesting rolls, and enjoy our first dinner out in a long time. I'm getting over some health issues that caused me to make some major dietary changes, so I'm just starting to loosen up on my food restrictions after three anxiety-riddled months of cooking all my own meals. L. pays, and for dessert we decide to grab some bubble tea at a place he's been begging me to try for weeks. I pay for bubble tea, since L. got sushi. $14.30
9:30 p.m. — Back at home, L. and I relax by watching TV together. He picks some old movie about an underwater research station, so I half pay attention while I read about the Taylor Swift/Beyonce drama happening after Taylor's Billboard Music Awards performance (#TeamTaylor all the way!). We stay up for a couple of hours, then I do my nighttime skincare routine (Tata Harper Regenerative Cleanser, The Ordinary 0.2% Retinol serum, 100% Pure caffeine eye cream, and Drunk Elephant Lala Retro moisturizer) along with more supplements and am in bed by 11:30.
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Daily Total: $56.93

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — After a rough night's sleep, I reluctantly get out of bed and get my morning started. I make my lemon water and take my supplements, but I'm not feeling very hungry after all the food last night. Instead, I do a 45-minute workout playlist with my absolute fave Youtuber, Blogilates. If you've never tried Pop Pilates before, give it a try — it'll change your life! Afterwards, I shower, have some more leftover muffins and a banana for breakfast, and hang out with L., who's watching I, Robot.
2:30 p.m. — L. and I have a birthday party to go to for his best friend tonight and need to pick up a present, so we head to the mall. While we're shopping, I grab a coffee and a vegan carrot loaf to snack on ($11.58), and pick up a Chipotle steak salad bowl for my dinner later, since there's only going to be pizza at the party tonight ($14.92). We find a fun t-shirt at Uniqlo as a gift, and L. pays. $26.50
5 p.m. — We stop by LCBO to pick up a bottle of wine for tonight, and a small bottle of cognac for the birthday boy to go with his t-shirt. Again, L. pays. We get to the birthday party and hang out with friends while playing beer pong and chatting with plenty of snacks, wine, and laughs before heading home around midnight. I do my nighttime skincare routine and quickly head to sleep.
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Daily Total: $26.50

Day Three

10 a.m. — Wake up later than usual after last night's birthday festivities, and do my usual morning routine. Today looks like it's going to be the first warm day in months, so I decide to go for a walk through the nearby trails in High Park. I pick up an iced coffee as I walk over ($6.04), and catch up on a few podcasts as I take in the sun. It's supposed to be cherry blossom season, but I'm a little early so there are no blooms yet on the trees, despite the hoards of people milling about. I stick to the forested areas to avoid the crowds, and it's a gorgeous walk, so I don't mind missing out on the blossoms. $6.04
12:30 p.m. — Get home with enough time to shower and get ready for a fun event that my friend, B., has turned into a yearly tradition. Last year she started having a tea party slash clothing swap for our group of friends, and it's a great way to spring clean my closet while also making more sustainable choices with my wardrobe by shopping from my friends instead of buying new stuff. It's also a fun way to get dressed up (fancy hats are encouraged!) and spend some quality time without our significant others around.
8 p.m. — It's Sunday night, so you know what that means — Game of Thrones! I say goodbye and head home with enough time to get ready for another evening with friends. This has been a jam-packed weekend for me, and as much as I love spending time with friends and family, I'm definitely looking forward to some peace and quiet tomorrow.
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11:30 p.m. — With our friends gone and L. in bed, I stay up for a while and get some writing done for my article that's due tomorrow. I do my usual nighttime routine before heading to sleep around 11:30.
Daily Total: $6.04

Day Four

8:10 a.m. — I wake up and scroll around on my phone for a while before getting up and starting my usual routine of lemon water and supplements. I make some breakfast (oatmeal with berries and honey) and get started working on the finishing touches for my piece that's due today.
11:15 a.m. — I take a call for a quick telephone interview with a second company that I'm interested in and answer some pretty standard preliminary questions. I think it went okay, but the interviewer didn't really seem all that interested in me or my past experiences, so I'll have to wait and see if this goes any further. I've done so many interviews over that last few months but have been intentionally very picky about saying yes to any new opportunities. I've made some hasty career choices in the past, so after getting laid off and making the switch to freelancing last year, I want to make sure to avoid making those same mistakes again.
12:30 p.m. — Quick omelette lunch before heading out for some groceries at my local grocer. I love my neighborhood because there's not one but two fantastic natural/organic grocery stores nearby, which makes things so much easier for me to find healthy food. Since changing my diet I now actively try to avoid gluten, dairy, and soy, which are in absolutely everything! At least I know I can find plenty of good options at my go-to grocery store, and today I pick up: (all organic) avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, apples, strawberries, lemon juice, free run eggs, granola, coconut yogurt, canned soup, smoked ham slices, apricot La Croix water, and a box of Daiya Cheezy Mac. $29.23
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2:45 p.m. — Once I'm home, I unload the groceries and get started on some roasted sweet potatoes for dinner later. I chop them up with just some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder to bake. I'll grill some chicken to go along with it this evening. I'm planning on meeting L. to test out a new gym after he's done with work, so it will be nice to not have to put everything together when I'm starving later.
5:30 p.m. — Check my email and find an email back from the company I interviewed with last week and start internally freaking out!! It turns out they were really impressed with my writing samples and in-person interview, and want to have me back to meet with higher-ups this week as well. I quickly respond that I'd love to come in and set up a time to meet in two days. I also snack on some strawberries and coconut yogurt before heading to the gym.
7 p.m. — After checking out the gym, L. and I decide to go for it and book our memberships on the spot. There are so many cool classes, a huge selection of machines to choose from, and the best part is, it's right next to our favorite grocery store! L. has some awesome perks through work (he's a software developer in the tech industry), so this membership will be expensed and taken out of his yearly fitness allowance.
7:10 p.m. — In the middle of filling out my membership forms, I get a call from my sister, who's in tears. She was at the dog park with the pup, who apparently got attacked by a bigger dog! My mom is out of town, so I drive over to help out. I quickly get as much information from my sister as possible and help her calm down, since it sounds like our dog isn't in bad shape. I get her to call the vet to let them know we're on our way to get the dog checked out.
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8:30 p.m. — After a short wait, we get to see the vet who tells us that we were pretty lucky and that the wounds are all just surface-level. We pick up some ointment and pay for the visit, which was paid for by the attacking dog's owner. We walk over to the pet store and let the puppy choose a new treat for his bravery — he picks a pigskin stick that smells freakishly like bacon. $5.95
9:30 p.m. — I drop my sister off at home and wait with her until she feels better. Luckily everyone is safe and sound, but we're starting to feel the adrenaline wearing off. I head home to L. and relax with some Bob Ross videos to decompress after a stressful evening. Do my usual skincare routine and head to bed by 11.
Daily Total: $35.18

Day Five

8:45 a.m. — Wake up and stay in bed while L. gets ready for work and catch up on everything I missed last night at the Met Gala. There were some serious looks this year, and I absolutely loved seeing the creativity that went into (most of) them. I do my morning routine, then make a quick yogurt and granola breakfast before heading to the gym.
10:40 a.m. — Hit the treadmill for a short 15-minute jog before a Zumba class. It's been a few years since my last one, but in university I used to go all the time. I leave feeling energized and ready for the rest of my day!
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12:15 p.m. — Stop by an art store on my way home to pick up a gift for my sister, whose birthday is in two days. I grab a palette, some natural hair brushes, a paint knife, a set of acrylic paints, and an 11" x 18" canvas to get her started on fulfilling her dream of following along with a Bob Ross tutorial. $58.32
1 p.m. — Get home and have some lunch. Today it's the grilled chicken that L. made last night and I never got around to actually eating with some sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning that turns out *chef's kiss*. It definitely hits the spot after all that cardio at the gym this morning. I spend the rest of my afternoon preparing for my second round interview tomorrow.
6 p.m. — Make some sausages and GF spaghetti for dinner, then dive into a new Netflix show, Dead to Me (highly recommend!!) L. gets home and watches a couple episodes with me before playing some video games online, and I keep watching. Next time I look up, it's 10…oops!
10:30 p.m. — Finish up my nighttime routine and head to sleep.
Daily Total: $58.32

Day Six

8:40 a.m. — I definitely overslept. I start rushing around to make a quick breakfast of banana pancakes and head out the door by 9:20 for my interview. Grab a street car and pray that I make it in time. $3.25
10:08 a.m. — Crap. I definitely should have Ubered here, as I'm a few minutes late. I email ahead to let them know that I was stuck in transit, and I hope this doesn't leave a bad impression. Aside from being late, I think the interview went really well! I spoke to two upper managers and then with a director in New York over videochat. I guess I'll find out how it goes next week, when they said they'd be making final decisions.
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11:15 a.m. — Out of my interview and I'm feeling hungry, not to mention a little nervous, so I decide to grab a chai latte and a GF chocolate chip cookie as a treat. I take the subway home (no cost since there's a two-hour fare window) and make friends with a dog riding the train with her owner. Maybe things are looking up after all! $9.44
12 p.m. — My mom is off work today, so I meet up with her to help pick out some birthday gifts for my sister. We settle on a Lululemon outfit and a fun backpack from Zara to go along with the Jonas Brothers concert tickets my mom already ordered online. We shop and have lunch, and then I head back home to get some work done for a couple of assignments that I received today.
7 p.m. — Have some dinner – today it's Thai green curry with veggies and shrimp on jasmine rice. I watch some TV (TLC wedding shows forever), and enjoy some peace and quiet.
9:30 p.m. — L. gets home from a work club meeting, and we spend some time in bed catching up on our days, which turns into a makeout session followed by a quick romp. We both doze off shortly after.
Daily Total: $12.69

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up to some good news and realize that I must not have screwed up too badly yesterday after all! I get an email from my old boss saying he received a reference check from my interviewer yesterday. He was very kind and gave a glowing review, so let's hope it works in my favor for this new position.
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10 a.m. — Have my morning supplements and lemon water with a bowl of coconut yogurt and granola before heading to the gym. I do a quick arm circuit followed by a cardio/weights class.
12 p.m. — Get home and shower, then have some leftover shrimp curry for lunch while I write. Check my banking app and find that my invoice for April with one of my freelance clients came through today. I transfer money into my personal savings account, some into mine and L.'s account, and pay off my credit card for the month. Hooray for payday!
2:30 p.m. — Head out to an eight-week follow-up appointment with my naturopath to see how things are progressing with my latest change in supplements. I pay $2 for street parking for an hour, then get my bloodwork done and go through my results. It's definitely expensive, but with conventional medicine I wasn't getting any helpful advice other than to take some pills and hope that eventually things would get better. With my naturopath's guidance, I've seen such an improvement in my symptoms and subsequent anxiety from fear of flare-ups, so the cost is totally worth it to me. $301.99
5:15 p.m. — Pick up the food my mom ordered for dinner and bring it over to her house. My family is really close, so my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma are all coming over to celebrate my sister's birthday. We spend the evening catching up and enjoying dinner and some chocolate cake for dessert (unfortunately just a bite for me!) and watch as my sister opens her presents. The homemade Bob Ross kit turns out to be a huge success, as do all the gifts I helped my mom pick out.
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9:30 p.m. — Say goodbye to my family and relax for a few minutes on a walk with the pup through the neighborhood before I call it a night myself. Head home and go through the usual evening routine, then relax with L. while watching the latest episode of Jane the Virgin on Netflix.
Daily Total: $301.99
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