An Intern's Week In Toronto, On $1,700/Month

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.
This week, we’re taking a look at the way interns are spending across the country. Internships can be a key way of getting experience, gaining entry into fields, and making connections, but not everyone has the ability — in terms of timing or finances — to make it happen. For those who do, managing an internship during the traditional work and school year, or working full-or-part-time over the summer can provide an exciting (or nerve-wracking!) preview of life after college.
Today: an advertising intern who makes $1,700 per month and spends some of it on Maybelline makeup.
Occupation: Intern
Industry: Advertising
Age: 22
Location: Toronto
Salary: $1,700/month for my four-month internship.
Paycheck (2x/month): $764.47 after taxes and deductions.
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $0. I'm lucky to have been able to move back home after graduating from undergrad. My goal is to pay off all of my student debt and save a few thousand before I move out, which I would like to do in 18 months or sooner.
Loan Payments: $400-$1,000
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Netflix: $0. I mooch off a friend.
Phone: $0. I'm still on my parents' plan.
Spotify: $9.99
Insurance: $0. Still on my parents' plan.
Gym: $o. I use my mom's membership.
Savings: $50/week automatic transfer into a tax-free savings account. I'm still in the six-month grace period after graduation before I have to start paying my loans back, so I'm getting a head start by putting money into a savings account. My parents helped a lot and I worked part-time for three years through undergrad, and full-time every summer, so I only have $11,000 of debt for a four-year undergrad degree.
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7:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I shower, get ready, and pour Nespresso into a travel cup. I'll drink it on the way to work. I take the streetcar (which is faster than the bus in the morning) and bump into a friend from my grad program. We chat about our internships and life until she gets off. The fare is $3, but I pay with a pre-loaded Presto card.

8:50 a.m. — I haven't eaten anything yet, so I stop at Second Cup and buy a croissant. It tastes a little like cardboard, but there is never a line here and it's right across the street from the office. $2.52

10 a.m. — Free office coffee. I gave up coffee for five months as my New Year's resolution, but I fell off the wagon so hard when I started working full time.

12 p.m. — Meet my one of my BFFs who works nearby at a coffee shop to catch up. We're both recent grads trying to save money, so neither of us buys anything. We're meeting here to take advantage of the nice weather on the patio.

12:45 p.m. — Back at the office and starving. I didn't pack an actual lunch today, so I eat all of the random snacks I have at my desk (a banana, granola bar, and Goldfish), in addition to meeting leftovers I scavenged from the office kitchen (sliced fruit and half a muffin). I chat with the other intern about the book she's reading, The Handmaid's Tale, and text my mom to see if she has a copy because I want to read it too. She doesn't, so I order a used copy on her Amazon account ($12.49). I will give it to her to read when I'm finished.

4 p.m. — I buy snacks for a client meeting with cash from the finance department. I intentionally buy snacks I like (Smartfood, trail mix, chocolate covered almonds, fruit platter) because clients never eat all the food and I can probably have the leftovers. ($18.25, expensed.)

5:30 p.m. — I scarf down a few handfuls of leftover popcorn, chocolate almonds, and fruit before leaving work to meet my boyfriend at a nearby patio. I'm in a pretty good mood because we don't usually get to see each other during the week, but he had a meeting downtown this afternoon. We each have two beers; he pays the $30 bill.

8 p.m. — I catch the bus home kinda tipsy and make a chicken and brie sandwich with leftovers from the fridge, plus one for tomorrow. While eating, I watch The Bachelorette with my mom. Both of us are half asleep; I call it a night at 9:30 and pass out by 10.

Daily Total: $2.52
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7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I snooze for 10 more minutes, then get up and drink a Nespresso while I get ready for work. I eat a bowl of cornflakes for first-breakfast and pack some food before leaving to catch the streetcar.

9:30 a.m. — I make another coffee at work and eat my second breakfast: a smoothie bowl with a sliced banana and chia seeds. My mother is an angel and usually makes a full blender of smoothie every morning for our family, which I bring to work in Tupperware. I scroll through Instagram while I eat and notice that ClassPass is having a four-classes-for-$4 deal. I never do fitness classes and am terrible at motivating myself to go to the gym, so I text the other intern. We both sign up and agree to go together after work. $4.52

12 p.m. — The other intern and I are sent to pick up pizzas for a lunch-and-learn at work. After we get back, we each snag a slice of the veggie pizza while watching the presentation. I grab another before I head back to my desk. It's much better than the sad chicken sandwich I packed.

2:15 p.m. — I have a headache, so I sneak out of the office to pick up some Advil from Shoppers Drug Mart. I also pick up my favorite concealer, Maybelline Age Rewind, because I'm almost out. $32.18

3 p.m. — Back at work, and nervously eating a banana. This internship is a requirement for my post-grad program, and I have to submit an evaluation from my supervisor soon. We're supposed to have a meeting this afternoon to discuss how my internship is going. I love working here and hope to be hired full-time in September, but she pushes the meeting to next week because her schedule is so crazy.

5 p.m. — I get my nails done at a cheap place across the street from my office. I know it's an unnecessary expense, but I love having my nails done and this place does an awesome job. They'll likely last until I get them done again in two or three weeks. $35 (including $5 tip)

6 p.m. — I meet up with a friend at a patio where we each have a beer and split waffle fries. I pay for my beer and the fries because she covered them last time. Afterward, I take the bus home. $17

8 p.m. — I eat the chicken sandwich I didn't eat during lunch and start doing laundry.

9 p.m. — Fold and put away laundry while watching beauty videos on YouTube. My boyfriend is watching the NBA draft (which I do not care about at all) and is apparently incapable of talking about anything else, so I start reading The Handmaid's Tale, which arrived today. I pass out pretty early again.

Daily Total: $88.70
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7:20 a.m. — Wake up, take a shower, and get ready. I rush because I'm already late and end up spilling smoothie all over the floor. Excellent. Now I'll be even later and will have to find something to eat after I get to work. It's pouring outside when I finally catch the streetcar. I try to not stab anyone with my umbrella.

10 a.m. — I drink free office coffee and eat a breakfast sandwich with a hash brown from Tim Horton's at my desk. It was $7.76, but I picked up a bagel for the other intern and she gave me $4. I get annoyed at myself again for not bringing any food to work today. $3.76

11 a.m. — I take a break from working on a presentation to update the Google Sheet I use to keep track of my spending. I stress about how I'll ever afford to move out.

12:30 p.m. — Time for lunch with a friend who is doing her internship nearby. I order ahead using an app called Ritual, which is connected to my credit card. I try to not spend more than $20 per work week on food and drinks, and I've already hit the limit. So I tell myself this will come out of next week's $20. I buy a huge chocolate chip cookie for the other intern because it's her birthday and these are the best cookies I've ever had. $9.38

4 p.m. — Free beers at work while chatting with coworkers about weekend plans and snacking on chips. I love my job. This day ended much better than it started.

7 p.m. — I take a nap when I get home. After I wake up, I eat a horrible, frozen, pre-made chicken pesto dinner, then get ready to go out for a friend's birthday.

9:30 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over and we Uber to my friend's birthday party because it is still raining really hard. I pay, and bring a bottle of wine from my fridge. Someone else pays for our Uber to the bar. $13.73

1:45 a.m. — I take an Uber home with my boyfriend, who's sleeping over. He bought my drinks at the bar, so I pay again. $23.57

Daily Total: $50.44
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9:30 a.m. — I miraculously wake up without a hangover! We're in bed for a while until our hunger forces us to get up. My parents are away this weekend, so we have the house to ourselves. I make blueberry pancakes, my boyfriend's favorite breakfast. He's is a terrible cook, and doing things like this is a small way to thank him for paying for basically everything.

12:45 p.m. — I convince my BF to drive me to the hair salon for my bi-annual haircut. I thought I'd be able to drive myself, but my brother is using the car. I booked the haircut for today because I'm going to a concert tonight. $79.80

1:30 p.m. — I get Tim Horton's and walk the 30 minutes home after, only to find out that the car was there all along. I'm sweaty, but it's a nice day and I walked through the dog park — so I don't mind. $6.87

4 p.m. — Meet up with my cousin/BFF at my house and we split an Uber to a Pride BBQ before the concert. We bring our own beers and we'll get free snacks at the party. The loft where the barbecue is happening is incredible, with a gorgeous view of the city. I am very jealous. $11.70

8:30 p.m. — We split a second Uber to the concert ($6.60), and then buy the biggest beer available, which is also the most economical ($16 plus $2 tip) and a slice of pizza ($6.50) at the concert. $31.10

11:30 p.m. — The concert ends with a cover of "Dancing in the Dark". It was a great show and I am tired and happy. My cousin buys us a poutine to share as we walk to the streetcar. I pass out as soon as I get home.

Daily Total: $129.47
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11:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling disoriented from sleeping for 11 hours. I make myself a sandwich with brioche, a fried egg, avocado, brie, and sliced turkey while watching Moana. Then I take a shower and make plans to meet my boyfriend at the Pride parade later. Hopefully we'll meet up with some other friends.

3 p.m. — My boyfriend picks me up and we drive to the parade, walking around on our own for a while until we eventually meet two of my cousins and my aunt. I love seeing all of the outfits. The Prime Minister marches in the parade, and I now have enough temporary tattoos to last me a lifetime.

4:30 p.m. — I pick up some groceries for dinner on the way home. We're eating salmon burgers that my brother bought from a nearby fish market, so I buy buns, potato salad, spring mix, a red and yellow pepper for the salad, and a box of s'mores ice cream sandwiches. Dinner is delicious and we watch Penguins of Madagascar after dinner, which is honestly hilarious. $24.03

9:30 p.m. — I do some laundry, read more of The Handmaid's Tale (so good), and go to sleep at 11:30.

Daily Total: $24.03
6 of 8
7:25 a.m. — I hit snooze too many times. I make a turkey and brie sandwich with avocado and pack leftover salad for lunch. I also decide to switch things up this week and eat Life cereal instead of cornflakes. I can't find my travel mug, so I'll have to wait until I get to work for a coffee.

9:30 a.m. — Coffee time. It's not as tasty as Nespresso, but free is free.

11:45 a.m. — I'm starving already, so I eat lunch early and grab a free Diet Coke from the office fridge. My sandwich fills me up for now, so I'll save the salad for a mid-afternoon snack.

2:30 p.m. — Free office coffee No. 2, plus my salad. I am determined to not spend any money on food this week since last week was so expensive. I update my Google sheet budget and get stressed about how expensive this weekend was. However, I'm spending the upcoming weekend with my family at our cottage for Canada Day, which means I won't spend anything from Friday through Monday.

5 p.m. — I take the bus home and see that it is raining again. WTF, Toronto. I'm on my own for dinner tonight; I discover that I have money on the Burrito Boyz app, so I stop to get a chicken burrito with the works and extra guac on my way home. I pay and still have 13 cents left on the app. Perfect.

9 p.m. — I watch the rest of Moana, and chat with my mom while helping her fold laundry because I haven't seen her all weekend. Then, I text my boyfriend that a band we like is coming to town in December. He decides to buy us tickets since I recently bought our tickets to see Ed Sheeran. I have to be at work early tomorrow, so I go to bed early.

Daily Total: $0
7 of 8
6:45 a.m. — I wake up, drink a Nespresso while getting ready, and then eat cereal before I leave. I pack a brie and turkey sandwich, a smoothie bowl, and an avocado. MORE RAIN. I take the streetcar to work.

10 a.m. — I grab a leftover croissant from the meeting, and drink my smoothie.

12:30 p.m. — Today, I lunch with the other interns and we catch up about our weekends. More office coffee.

6 p.m. — I take the bus home after work, and then drive to my boyfriend's house to meet him before we go for dinner at The Keg. He has a $200 gift card and wants to have one extravagant meal instead of two smaller ones, so we ball out and each get an appetizer (shrimp for me and escargot for him), steak and lobster mains, a pitcher of sangria, and a fancy cocktail. After, we watch a movie at his place in a blissful food coma. I drive home around 11:30 and pass out.

Daily Total: $0
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Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to the U.S. dollar.

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