A Week In Vancouver, BC, On A $65,000 Salary

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Today: an event coordinator working in entertainment who makes $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bodysuit for dance class.
Occupation: Event Coordinator
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 26
Location: Vancouver, BC
Salary: $65,000 (This total includes about $15,000 from side hustles. I do admin work for an arts organization and make a small amount from tarot readings.)
Net Worth: $12,250 ($7,000 in a TFSA, $3,000 in savings, and $2,250 saved for travelling in a post-COVID world)
Debt: $0
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,642 (plus periodic cheques from my side hustles)
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,400 (I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my two cat babies and my plant babies.)
Hydro: $22
Internet: $90
Health & Dental Benefits: $0 (covered by work)
Phone: $0 (covered by work)
Online Gym: $15
Charitable Donation: $100 (The charity varies monthly.)
Netflix & Disney+: $0 (I mooch off of friends and fam.)
Amazon Prime & Crave: $31
Apple Music: $11
Savings: $1,000 (On top of this, I also contribute whatever is left at the end of the month.)

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My mom didn't go to post-secondary school, so there wasn't a sense of expectation. However, I was always an A+ student, very ambitious, and even received a scholarship to a prestigious private secondary school, so the general consensus was that I would go to university. Everyone was very surprised (and my mom was even a little upset) when I opted out. One of the reasons I chose not to go to university was definitely the debt I would've incurred.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We grew up poor, so we had a very unhealthy relationship to money — something I'm still trying to change now. My mom had important things to say about saving and being savvy, and the best thing she taught me was to donate to charity. Giving away a percentage of my allowance was always a requirement. But her actions were different from her advice. She had a paycheque-to-paycheque mentality and, even when you don't have to, it's all too easy to become a quick and unwise spender when you grow up with that thinking.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a movie theatre when I was 16. I got the job to have spending money and occasionally help my mom out when she needed it.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I was aware that we were poor, and I was stressed about being evicted or not eating. My mom made it work, but there was always fear associated with money, and it became more noticeable when I went to a private high school, where I was surrounded by extreme wealth. During that time, my mom also lost her job, so it was hard to see how much my peers had and how little they stressed about money.

Do you worry about money now?
All the time. Working in the event industry during the pandemic has made me reconsider my spending and saving. I worry about how to make more money in this industry without a post-secondary education — and in this very expensive city. I also worry about having to support my family at times. When I was 20, I got into a lot of credit card debt and only paid it off (and started to actually save money) last year, so that's a scary shadow that hangs over me. I hope I've learned from my mistake and won't repeat it.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
At 17, I still lived at home, so I didn't pay rent, but I paid for everything else myself. At 19, I moved out and became fully responsible for all of my bills. My financial safety net is the ability to move home. It's not an option I like, but I would 100% use it if I had to. I also have uncles with wealth who would help me if I was desperate, but my pride has kept me from asking.
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Day One

9 a.m. — I wake up and do an Instagram scroll, which is one of my worst habits. It's my day off, so I soak up the laying-in-bed-relaxing-all-morning part of the day. I dream journal and read a few chapters of Hunger by Roxane Gay, then finally roll out of bed, meditate, and do my morning skin-care routine: a homemade scrub, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from The Ordinary, and lotion.
11 a.m. — Brunch is a combination of fridge leftovers: a veggie scramble with potatoes, zucchini, peppers, and vegetarian sausage, plus avocado and white bean toast. I watch a few episodes of New Girl (I just started rewatching the series). After too much TV, I get ready for my favourite adulting pastime: errands! In this time of coronavirus, I've given up on makeup, which has been a blessing. I shower and throw on flare jeans and an oversized T-shirt, French tucked. I listen to Ariana Grande's new album as I get ready. Honestly, has this woman ever made a bad album?! I'm super into it.
1:30 p.m. — I stop at the dollar store for candles, paper towels, chocolate, and tights ($17.50), the liquor store for cans of rosé and Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz ($28.86), then the grocery store for cat food, vinegar, bay leaves, Violife vegan cheddar cheese, kombucha, pizza, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, the Impossible ground (I haven't tried this yet, and I'm stoked), and fresh flowers ($60.97). The cookies I wanted for Halloween are sold out, so I make a detour to another grocery store. Unfortunately, they're sold out there too, so I head home devastated. $107.33
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4 p.m. — I deep clean my house as quickly as possible and somehow manage to get it looking great (minus the clothes pileup on my bed) in time for my friend's arrival. I'm an amateur witch, so I'm using the magic of Halloween and the blue moon to practise spells. They go well, but magic is draining, so we wrap it up and end the night with pizza, chocolate, and rosé.
11 p.m. — I do my evening skin-care routine: The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, and Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, followed by hemp oil and my jade roller. Then I get cozy on the couch with more chocolate and cookies. I put on The Witches film with Anne Hathaway. I'm nostalgic about the original, so I don't love this version, but it's fun and not so scary that I won't be able to sleep. Eventually, I pass out on the couch and have vivid dreams.
Daily Total: $107.33

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I've never in my life woken up this early by accident, especially on a weekend. Then I remember it's daylight saving and my internal clock is set for 8:30 a.m., so this makes sense. Also, is there anything more disorienting than waking up on the couch? This has become a bad habit lately. I'm a mess. Again, I do my Instagram scroll and dream journal. Then roll off the couch, do my skin care, and meditate.
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9 a.m. — I eat leftover pizza for breakfast. I'M NOT PROUD OF THIS, but I'm trying to be honest, and I reason that it's fine because it's Halloween weekend. I put on an episode of New Girl while I eat. My cousin texts me to check in about our weekly two-to-three-hour walk. I throw on my usual uniform of yoga pants and a sweatshirt for our walk. Actually, this is just my regular day-to-day uniform now in coronavirus times. I meet up with my cuz, and we have a lovely fall walk.
12 p.m. — I get home and quickly do the dishes while catching up on my daily news podcasts (The Daily and Today, Explained). Then my friend, R., arrives for an at-home movie date. We have three films on the docket, so we get right to it. It's a Will Ferrell day, and we're watching Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, and Wedding Crashers.
3 p.m. — We take a quick break to go for a walk, talk, and smoke weed. When we get back, we prep food for the next movies – carrots, hummus, chocolate, bread, baked brie, and wine. I also throw in a load of laundry but hang it dry, so it only costs $2 for the wash. $2
9 p.m. — After my friend leaves, I put on New Girl and watch a few episodes before I feel like I'm going to pass out. I do my evening skin-care routine and am defeated when I realize my bed is still covered in clothes. I hate to admit it, but I sleep on the couch again and decide to deal with this problem tomorrow. My couch is very comfortable, y'all!
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Daily Total: $2

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — UGH. Daylight saving time is throwing me off. I Instagram scroll, dream journal, and check emails to see if there are any urgent items. There aren't, so I take my time getting ready for work: skin care, meditation, and reading. I throw on my favourite comfy shorts and a hoodie.
9 a.m. — The workday begins. Luckily, I have no meetings, which is a relief! It's shocking that we even have jobs or things to do considering I'm in event planning during a pandemic, but we've actually managed to stay busy(ish). Our work week has been reduced to four days, so tomorrow is my day off, which means I need to take care of everything urgent today. I remember that I've been meaning to buy a hip band since quarantine started, so I quickly purchase one on Amazon. $15.26
1 p.m. — It's time for lunch! Four days a week, I intermittent fast, so my first meal of the day is after 1 p.m. I make a cup of tea (I recently cut down on caffeine, so I've taken to herbal tea) and scavenge the kitchen. I still have leftovers from Saturday's breakfast, so I do the veggie scramble with a piece of avocado-bean toast. I use my lunch break to get work done for an activist organization I'm a part of.
4 p.m. — I take a quick break for cookies and more tea while reading theSkimm and listening to The Daily.
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6 p.m. — The workday is finished! It's later than I wanted, but I'm glad to get my to-do list done. I set my OOO and log the fuck out. I have a Zoom hang with two friends in an hour, and I use the time in between to do the dishes. I put on Ariana's new album again, so I can dance while I wash.
7 p.m. — I cook lentil soup from scratch while I have my Zoom date. Eventually, when the soup is done, I make a grilled cheese to go with it and eat while we talk. We're all pretty chatty and haven't had a catch-up in awhile, so we talk for a long time.
11 p.m. — Our date ends, and I'm exhausted. But, alas, I have to deal with that clothes pile on my bed. I fold and hang clothes while I watch an episode of New Girl. Then I shower, do my evening skin care, read a few chapters of Hunger, and pass TF out.
Daily Total: $15.26

Day Four

8 a.m. — WTF. I accidentally set my alarm for 8 a.m. last night, because I forgot to change the clock with daylight saving. Why would I ever wake up this early on my day off? I can't get back to sleep, so I reluctantly start my day with the usual — Instagram, dream journal, reading — and take time for a long cat cuddle. I'm not feeling so well and attribute it to the US election today. Even though I'm Canadian, it's impossible to deny the global impact of this election. I make a pact to stay off social media, then promptly take a long nap.
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2 p.m. — I'm feeling a little better! I used to guilt trip myself about napping when I could be getting things done, but the pandemic has made me prioritize my health. I'm now very hungry, so I quickly do my morning skin care and throw together veggie sausages with more avocado-bean toast. Instead of watching New Girl, I start The Haunting of Bly Manor. I wind up watching four episodes and break at one point to make tea and have carrots and hummus.
6:30 p.m. — I stop Netflix bingeing and avoiding the news to take an online dance class with my favourite instructor. The class is all twerk-based, and nothing makes me sweat harder. I started dancing two and a half years ago, and it has changed my life, both in terms of confidence and mental health. Dancing is now my workout of choice, but I throw in strength training once or twice a week. After class, I do a very long stretch for my back that my physiotherapist would be proud of.
9 p.m. — After showering, I order a shawarma platter and kombucha from a vegan restaurant. I usually only do delivery on Fridays or Saturdays, but Uber Eats has a good deal today. I watch New Girl while I wait. $36.18
9:45 p.m. — My food finally arrives, which means I'll eat outside my fasting window, unfortunately. I watch the new The Craft movie while I eat. I'm glad it's not a remake, but it definitely doesn't hold a candle to the original.
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11:30 p.m. — It's time for skin care and reading. I also do a quick meditation to get rid of this election anxiety. It doesn't help.
Daily Total: $36.18

Day Five

8 a.m. — I forget my dream the second I wake up, so I don't dream journal. I finally go on social media to check the “results” of the election. I'm not at all surprised but horrified that it's too close to call. America continues to want to uphold white supremacy. I'm not ignorant of Canada's own loyalty to white supremacy, but obviously there's a focus on the US right now. I do my usual morning reading and skin-care routine before my morning commute of 10 steps to my laptop. I have several Zoom meetings today, so I put more effort into my hair and shirt, which means I don't wear a hoodie.
1:30 p.m. — After too many calls (why are they all on the same day?!) I take a break for lunch. I have the leftover salad from last night's platter, heat up leftover lentil soup, and put on a pot of tea. During my lunch break, I attempt some online shopping. I want to buy new outfits for my in-person dance class (it's a late-night heels floor work class where lingerie is encouraged), but I get distracted by a pair of gorgeous high-heeled boots on sale. Do I need them? No. Am I going to cart them and spend the rest of the day fantasizing about them? Definitely. I also find cute teddies I can wear to dance and cart those as well. While I'm online, I purchase a ticket to tonight's Zoom dance class. $7
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5:15 p.m. — The workday is done, so I log out and put on a few episodes of Bly Manor. I don't know what it is about ghosts, but I buy some of the items I carted earlier. I get two pairs of shorts, two bodysuits, body tape, and nipple covers — all for dance class. I opt out of the boots because, although they're gorgeous, I don't need them. At least I can convince myself the dance stuff is necessary. $94.90
7:30 p.m. — My home could use cleaning, so I do the dishes, take out the garbage and recycling, sweep, clean my bedroom, etc. Let me say: I often miss being a child without responsibilities. While I clean, I listen to the Who? Weekly podcast and catch up on The Daily, then quickly get ready for my dance class.
10 p.m. — The class is great as usual! It's so much fun, and I sweat like crazy. Afterward, I do a long stretch and have a quick shower. It will be another late dinner tonight. I don't like to eat before working out, and some of these classes are late. I have a Beyond Burger with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli while catching up with my mom. Eventually, I get ready for bed and pass out before I even read a page in my book.
Daily Total: $101.90

Day Six

8 a.m. — I can't remember my dreams again, and I'm annoyed. Do I need to rehash my morning routine? You know the drill.
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1 p.m. — For lunch, I have leftovers from last night. I put on an episode of Bly Manor before jumping on a call. The rest of the workday is surprisingly productive, though I do take an online shopping break to buy LED strip lights. I also find out I got a gig for tomorrow night, which is bittersweet. Do I want to work? No. But does the extra money pay for my online shopping habit? Duh. $24.99
5 p.m. — Closiiiiiiing time! I do the dishes and light housework before I need to leave. I have huge plans tonight with Chris Harrison and a few friends from my small, socially distanced circle. I put on my fanciest sweatsuit and get ready to go.
6:15 p.m. — En route to my friend's house, I stop at the library to pick up my book club novel for November. Holy shit, it's massive. I don't think I'll finish it by our meeting. I also stop at Subway for a veggie sub for dinner ($5.89), the grocery store for vegan beef jerky ($6.49), and the liquor store for rosé cans ($17.04). Can you watch The Bachelorette without rosé? This episode of The Bachelorette is finally wrapping up Clare's story and introduces Tayshia (FINALLY). It's great and everything I've been waiting for. $29.42
12:15 a.m. — When I get home, I put on the new episode of Superstore and pass out on the couch without doing my evening skin care. Thank god I hardly put on makeup nowadays and don't fall asleep with my cake face on.
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Daily Total: $54.41

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I feel disoriented when I wake up. Probably because I'm on the couch in my clothes and forgot to set my alarm last night. It's so bright I think it's 10 a.m., and I'm relieved to see the time. I shower and shave, because tonight is my in-person dance class, and if something is going to pop out I want it trimmed. Then my workday begins.
1 p.m. — I eat leftover lentil soup and a side of leftover potatoes and broccoli while watching New Girl. After lunch, I try on my outfit for tonight's class to make sure everything fits and stays put.
3 p.m. — There's a virtual panel on racial capitalism featuring Angela Davis, so I put it on while I finish up my work. I'm going to be off from my job for most of next week, so I try to get my to-do list done before I say au revoir. My cousin drops off of a cute gift and vegan apple pie, and it takes everything in my power to not eat the pie yet. Once my work is done, I quickly get ready to leave for my second job, then my class. I wear my dance outfit with a pair of jeans on top and, for the first time in weeks, I put on makeup: The Ordinary primer, Fenty foundation, Nars blush, Urban Decay eyeshadow, and Colourpop lipstick that goes unnoticed in a mask.
5:45 p.m. — Work is fine. It involves physically distanced customer interaction, which I'm not a fan of. It's boring, so I read Twitter and Mindy Kaling's new essays, Nothing Like I Imagined. When my shift is done, I take two shots of vodka (I personally find that it helps when you're dancing half-naked) and meet my friend outside to walk to dance class.
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11:30 p.m. — The class is great and feels very safe! It's freezing outside, I'm exhausted, and it's late, so I Uber home. I pop a vegan pizza in the oven and quickly shower. I also make a point to do my skin-care routine before taking my 'za to the couch and putting on Holidate because I'll probably pass out. Sure enough, I'm out like a light shortly after eating. $13
Daily Total: $13
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