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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Money Diaries A 31-year-old performance marketing manager on $90K living in Toronto
This week, our reader is enjoying life in Toronto, taking care of their health after a diagnosis while busy playing Dungeons & Dragons.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

Are you a spender, a saver or a splurger? We’re looking for readers who will keep a money diary for a week. If you’re interested send a mail to We would love to hear from you.

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a week in their shoes, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from a 34-year-old project manager on €75K living and working in Dublin. This week, we skip across the Atlantic and meet a 31-year-old performance marketing manager on $90K living in Toronto, Canada.


I’m a 31-year-old male living in Toronto and have been here for about five years. My fiancée and I moved back here after getting stuck abroad during the pandemic and we just celebrated a year back in Canada.

I’m currently trying to reorganise my food/ drink lifestyle after getting diagnosed with gastrointestinal disease, so the days of a few pints and greasy food are gone while I try to find the right balance. My hobbies include watching movies, going to the gym, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and general sports.

Our condo that we got during the height of the pandemic to rent was a bargain, which in normal times would be the same cost as a one-bed. Instead, it’s a 2+2 with a huge balcony looking over a park, so ideally we’ll never leave! I work from home while my fiancée works a 30-minute walk away, so we generally save on transport.

We do not plan to buy a house anytime soon, mostly because it would both limit our movements but also it is so absurdly out of reach that we can’t understand why one would even bother. For the size you get, plus all the fees, it just all adds up to be way too much money for so little. Downtown you get more bang for your buck by renting, but obviously renting has its disadvantages too. We’ll buy a house when we’re much older, but for now, we’re okay.

I’m pretty much in charge of all finances and planning, which I think I’m fairly solid at. At the moment we’re saving for a wedding, so it’s $600/month on that. Then we run a net $0 balance every month, so instead of savings at the start of the month, we live a basic lifestyle and just bank everything at the end. This goes into a mix of a tax-free account and a retirement account.

Thanks to the pandemic, I spent a lot of time researching investing and we invest now instead of saving. I would advise everyone to do the same – bank interest rates are a disgrace. Finally, we pay everything on a credit card, get the points and then pay it off immediately. Our lifestyle is pretty simple, we just don’t spend money if we don’t have to, but if we’re out and it’s worth it, then we do. Simple as.

Overall, I always wanted to write one of these to give a sense of what it’s like over here. To me, my money goes further in Toronto vs somewhere like Dublin, Cork or Galway (especially for renting) which is where someone of my career would need to be.

Occupation: Performance marketing manager
Age: 31
Location: Toronto
Salary: $90,000 + Bonus (up to 10%)
Monthly pay (net): $4,925

Monthly expenses

My partner and I split the rent 50/50 and then the rest we split as a % of our total income, which nets out at 70/30. We’ve averaged out what our monthly expenses were, and we put that amount into the joint account every month. The rest is our own personal money. The below is the best split I could do:

Transport: $20 (metro)
Rent: $1,100
Household bills: $55 for internet, $41 for electricity
Phone bill: $45
Health insurance: $21 (Critical Illness) – The rest is covered by work or the government.
Groceries: $150
Subscriptions: Sportsnet – $22.99, Disney+ – free, Netflix – free, Amazon Prime – $9.99
Savings: $300 (wedding), $300 – $500 (savings)



4.40 am: I get up nice and early for the gym – only to realise my watch didn’t update to daylight savings in Canada and I’m an hour early, so it’s back to bed for me.

5.50 am: Now I get up and head to the gym! It’s in my condo building which is a great money and time saver. An hour in there, back to the apartment for a shower and to get changed. I put some porridge on to soak while I head out for my morning walk.

8.00 am: Back home and I heat up my porridge with some honey and blueberries. Usually, I take this time to plan out the week and so far, it looks like it’s going to be a fun – but cheap – week.

8.30 am: I travel the long distance of 10ft to my home office to set up my plan here for the day and the week. I remember we have Thursday off thanks to a federal holiday which means it will probably be a busy one.

10.00 am: I step out for some herbal tea as well as some peanut butter on rice cakes which is super dry, but I need to ensure I keep weight on.

12.00 pm: Lunchtime – homemade soup and a sandwich. I watch some old school Scrubs and look over the stock market, which is doing amazing today. Quick fresh air on the balcony and I’m back at it.

3.00 pm: Online meeting with a friend, so I duck out for some herbal tea and blueberries to snack on while we chat. (I stay on mute while I’m munching!)

5.00 pm: Finish up on time and myself and herself head out for a quick stroll to stretch the legs. It’s her turn to cook dinner, so it’s salmon and rice for us. In the meantime, I do some D&D writing for our campaign.

7.00 pm: We sit down to watch the movie Get Out, which is super creepy.

10.00 pm: Wash up, brush the teeth and off to bed.

Today’s total: $0.00


7.15 am: Up late, so I skip the shower this morning, get dressed and head straight out for my morning walk.

8.00 am: Two boring hard-boiled eggs and a slice of peanut butter and bread for breakfast. I open up the various news sites before heading into work.

8.45 am: Right before work, I purchase tickets to Montreal for Christmas ($162 return) as there is a deal on Tuesday. It’s pretty much the only day you should buy train tickets in Canada.

12.00 pm: It’s soup again for lunch today to finish the leftovers. While I’m at it, I look online for a Christmas present for herself. Delivery charges kill me, but it is what it is. ($68.90). I call home to chat to my dad for a bit, the usual stuff: rugby, the wedding, life in general.

3.00 pm: I hit a wall at work so I head out for some fresh air and grab myself a decaf flat white with oat milk ($4.90). It does the job and I work solid until the end of the day.

5.00 pm: I chuck on a roast chicken and veg for the night. My fiancée comes back later because of her commute. In the meantime, I play some Xbox and do some more D&D writing until dinner time.

7.00 pm: Dinner is served. I sneak a couple of Halloween Crunchie bars that I’m sure I’ll regret later and sit down to watch the new season of Big Mouth on Netflix.

10.00 pm: Set my alarm for the morning and hit the hay.

Today’s total: $235.80


6.00 am: Up and down to the gym for a 5km run. I make myself some homemade electrolytes as it’s not so harsh on the stomach.

7.30 am: I walk my fiancée to a skateboard lesson she teaches not far away and then head back in for a slice of white toast, chicken and olive oil. I kick back and wait for work to start.

8.30 am: Meeting first thing. I’m not too needed so I check the stock market (all good) and make my plan for the day instead. It looks like one of those miserable days where it’s online meetings every second 30 minutes of the day.

12.00 pm: Work straight through to lunch and have chicken salad and soup. I watch some Big Mouth and then head back to it.

3.00 pm: I hit the most almighty of walls so I book myself a fake meeting and head in for a 20-minute nap. If people say they don’t do this when working from home they are liars. I wake up refreshed and blitz through the remaining tasks for the day.

5.30 pm: I finish up work, a day off tomorrow so I’m fairly buzzed. I fix myself up into more decent attire and head out to meet the fiancée as we have started doing dance lessons every Wednesday. I’m shocking at it but it’s still great fun to do together. We get the Toronto Transit Commission over and back, which is part of my $20/month for transport.

8.30 pm: We get back and I am starving, but it’s too late for me to have a full dinner so herself persuades me to have something small (chicken on toast). We have a cheeky edible (all legal here) each and then watch some YouTube before bed.

11.00 pm: Could be the time I went to bed, honestly not sure.

Today’s total: $0.00


10.00 am: Lovely to sleep in. I drag myself out of bed eventually and make some boiled eggs and avocado for breakfast. Fiancée doesn’t start work until midday, so we chill on the couch and watch Man Of Steel until she heads off, at which point I also get ready to meet some friends.

1.00 pm: Head out for lunch and drinks with our five-a-side team. I try to stay on track but ordering food is a literal minefield so I have the grilled chicken salad while everyone else has pulled brisket poutine – it’s a sad day. We split some appetisers so all in, plus tip, it works out at $51.85.

4.00 pm: Home and I chuck on some dinner before the lady comes home.

7.00 pm: We have a small amount of food to tip us over. Afterwards, we head over to a friend’s house to visit their new puppy. Nothing to make your day more than a small doggo. Couldn’t even tell you what’s happening in the friend’s life such was the focus on the puppy.

10.30 pm: Pretty goosed, so we head home and head to bed.

Today’s total: $51.85


7.00 am: Up and it’s porridge, honey and blueberries for breakfast. I swing by the grocery shop and they just had a new delivery, meaning the old stock is on sale, so I grab some discounts on meats and just freeze them when I’m home ($27.85). Head into the office for a bit.

12.00 pm: Back home and cook myself up a mini chicken and egg fried rice stir-fry. Crash on the couch until 1 o’clock watching some streams on Twitch. Should probably go outside for some sun, but just can’t be bothered.

3.00 pm: My symptoms hit me like a truck, so much so that I try to book an appointment with the doctor but there’s no availability. It’s frustrating because it usually comes as a result of food triggers which I thought I’ve been doing pretty well on. Thankfully I have this diary to go through what I’ve eaten.

5.00 pm: I cross the work finish line with a whimper. Pretty much just free-wheeled it from 4 0′clock as I’m a bit down. However, a fun evening ahead.

7.00 pm: I catch up with my partner and we head to what was her birthday present – a candlelight mini-orchestra playing movie themes. It was unreal. They cost me like $25 each and was the biggest bargain ever. Afterwards, we head to a Japanese restaurant and have fried rice, shrimp and chicken black bean, as well as some cheeky sake ($57.09). I have a feeling this might be the last of it for a while so I go all in on the sake.

10.00 pm: I get home and the stomach is only getting worse. I go to bed worried and decide I’ll go to A&E in the morning.

Today’s total: $84.94


6.30 am: I’m up anyway, so I make my way to the hospital and get the full check-up and everything is good, so it’s nothing more sinister than what I already have. The doctor makes some recommendations, one being to cut out grains, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and red meat… and apparently fun as well. I also get a prescription for medication. It comes to $100, but it’s all covered by either Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) or work insurance, so no cost for me.

10.00 am: Home and I have hummus for breakfast, which is weird. I load up the Xbox on one side and the Irish match on the other to set up for the day.

1.00 pm: I get a text from a friend saying the birthday party we were headed to tonight is cancelled (Covid) so I’m secretly delighted. I have myself some chicken drumsticks and then decide to treat myself to a nap.

5.00 pm: Very little to write about today! I’ve done some planning for our game tomorrow and tidied the house a bit, but all in all, having a fairly ‘me’ day.

8.00 pm: We have some dinner and chill out watching some movies on the couch before bed.

Today’s total: $0.00


10.00 am: We get up for a very lazy Sunday and chill on the couch for a bit watching goofy YouTube videos. My fiancée has her breakfast while I get to meal prepping some veggie burgers to freeze for the week.

12.00 pm: Hummus and carrots for lunch. This is going to get very old, very quickly so I do some research into diets that I can eat. We discuss getting one of those meal subscriptions for a while but don’t commit just yet.

2.00 pm: Gym time! I take it easy but I have the whole place to myself which is ideal.

3.30 pm: D&D session has finally arrived! Two and a half hours of campaign talks and lore and just nerding out, a solid escape. We finish up and plan the next few weeks we can meet up. Happy out though.

6.00 pm: Dinner and a movie before prepping for tomorrow. It’s the veggie burgers (4/10) and a movie 6/10). Will need to improve the recipe going forwards.

10.00 pm: I tidy up some washing, take my medication and buy another Christmas present for herself which is her done for the holidays. ($52.31)

Today’s total: $52.31

Weekly subtotal: $424.90


What I learned –

  • I’m pretty okay with our spending, to be honest. There’s not really much I would change as we didn’t go wild on anything yet had our fun.
  • I’ve delayed submitting this to see what we saved at the end of the month, which was $500, so pretty happy with that.
  • My life would be/will be different going forward with regards health insurance because of my condition. This will very much be a necessity for me and any job I want from now on, which kind of sucks but I’m very thankful it’s covered.
  • Our food bill has increased dramatically to accommodate my diet since, however given we rarely spend money on take-out and only eat out once a week it’s fairly managable.
  • Financially, overall as a couple, we’re in a good place. We earn very different salaries but worked through it at the start and now there’s no real worry over who pays what as everything comes from the one account. Writing this diary was actually difficult because the majority of spending is shared unless it’s a unique personal item we want.
  • Learning how to invest is essential. I play it ‘safe’ and am up far more than the measly bank saving account interest rates of 0.10%. No brainer. Make your money work harder.

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