Calgary on a budget
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Show Me the Money: Calgary on $70,000 a Year

If you’ve ever wanted to peer into someone’s budget and see how they really spend it, now’s your chance — in this case, $70,000 a year. Originally hailing from Langley, B.C., our source moved east of the Rockies with her family at age 10. After graduating from the University of Calgary in June 2014, she acquired a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in entrepreneurship. Now an accountant in the oil and gas industry, our source lives with her fiancé and puppy. A self-proclaimed foodie, this 26-year-old likes to spend her free time at local haunts such as Notable, The Nash, Alloy, and National.


Occupation: Accountant
Industry: Oil and Gas
Age: 26
Neighbourhood: Citadel, NW
Yearly Salary: $70,000

“One other thing that is unique about my situation is that I have a rental property,” says our source — noting the rental property adds to her overall income.

Rental property: $16,200 yearly
Bonus: $18,000 in 2016 before tax, yearly
*Bonus varies

Monthly take home pay
Work: $4,180 (not including bonus)
Rental property income: $1,350
Bonus (after tax, per month): $1,050
Total Income: $6,580 per month


Savings account: $800 to $1,000 per month
RRSP: $500 per month
TFSA: $150 per month
Total Monthly Savings: $1,450 to $1,650

Monthly Payments

Rental property: $1,600
Rental property insurance: $170 per year
Personal home: $0
*Our source lives with her fiancé, and he covers the cost of their mortgage
Car insurance: $120
Credit card: All monthly expenses

“Basically all my monthly expenses I pay for on my credit card, and then I pay it off at the end of the month to get cash back,” says our source. “So there is no real set amount, I just include it in the monthly expenses.”

Total Monthly Payments: $1,890

Monthly Expenses

Gas: $60
Transit: $0 (paid for by work)
Electricity and utilities: $135
Phone: $0 (paid for by work)
Groceries: $400 solo (includes Spud delivery fees)

“I typically buy pretty healthy, lean food,” our source says. “And sometimes that can be even more expensive if you are trying to eat organic produce.”

Wine: $100

“We love our wine,” she adds. “I love Italian reds, and Portuguese wine — we are Portuguese. I’m kind of into Pinot Noirs right now too.”

Eating out: $350 per month

“I love Notable and The Nash. Alloy is a really good one too. Also included in that would be drinks, so we go to places like the Cactus Club and National,” says our source. “I love trying new foods, or trying old favourites. And pairing it with good wine — Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro [now closed] is amazing.”

Netflix: $10
Cable/Internet: $80
Gym: $30
*Our source’s work pays for $1,200 per year, she pays for $30 on top of that)
Clothing: $150 per month

“I’m not a big shopper, but I’ll buy new stuff if we are going on a trip or something,” she says.

Hairdresser, nails, lashes, and other beauty: $350
Puppy: $350, includes insurance, daycare, puppy sitter, food, toys, grooming
Donations: $50
*Our source regularly donates to the Calgary Humane Society and Children’s Hospital, although she also occasionally donates to the Canadian Breast Cancer Society, or to a friend if they are hosting a fundraiser
Vacation: $10,000 in a year, which breaks down to roughly $833 per month
Random (repairs, maintenance, vacation, gifts, weddings): $250 to $300
Total Expenses: $3,148 to $3,198

A Week in the Life – Sunday

Sundays start gently for our source. Waking up between 9 and 10 am, she’ll walk her puppy and grab a Starbucks ($5) to help ease into the day. Occasionally, she’ll indulge in brunch ($40), and if she didn’t head out on the town the night before she will hit a 9:30 am spin class ($20).

The remainder of the day is spent relaxing with friends and family — and perhaps may include a little online shopping for clothes or puppy toys ($50).


As Monday will come far too soon, our source heads to bed by 10 pm.

Indeed, the work week sees our source waking up at 5:30 am, with the couple’s puppy sitter arriving to watch over their Labradoodle during the workday ($10). On her way to the office, our source stops by her usual coffee spot ($2). Generally, she brings her lunch to work.

After wrapping up work early on Mondays, our source heads to a 5:30 pm spin class ($20). Upon pedaling up a sweat, every other week she’ll stop to fill up her car on the way home ($35), and hits the hay by 10 pm.


Tuesday starts like its predecessor, welcoming the puppy sitter ($10) and including her morning caffeine jolt ($2). Finished work by 5 pm, Tuesdays are also the day our source’s neighbourhood gets their Spud delivery ($50 to $70).

After making dinner — which one can assume includes crisp, fresh produce courtesy of Spud — Tuesday also ends like its predecessor with a 10 pm bedtime.


A 6 am Wednesday morning spin class ($20) wakes our source up a little earlier than normal. Wednesdays also start differently for her puppy, which is dropped off at daycare ($12.50) rather than watched by a sitter.

Just before heading into work she picks up her usual coffee ($2) — arguably much needed after an early morning workout.

Wednesdays also bring a mid-week beauty pick-me-up, as our source will take the opportunity to get her nails done after work ($70).


With the exception of freshly minted nails and no Spud delivery, Thursday is much like Tuesday — starting with $2 for coffee, $10 for a puppy sitter and ending by dropping by Superstore to pick up groceries ($200). Thursdays might also see our source restocking her wine collection ($40).

Friday morning mirrors Wednesday, with an early morning spin class ($20), taking the puppy to daycare ($12.50), and grabbing a cup-of-Joe ($2).

However, the workday is broken up by a little lunchtime shopping ($60) and a trip to Starbucks ($5) — as our source puts it, she doesn’t mind the extra caffeine because she can stay up later than usual.

Roughly every three weeks, on her way home from work, our source will also stop by her local liquor store, which hosts wine tastings — tastings that generally lead to purchasing a new variety of vino ($25).


Our source celebrates Friday by heading out to dinner. If she is with her fiancé, he foots the bill; however, if she goes out with a girlfriend, dinner will round out at $70, and drinks at $50. The night will wrap up with a cab ride home ($35), where our source turns in for the night at 2 am.


Saturday morning calls for Starbucks ($5), and the afternoon takes the couple to a puppy training class ($10). Naturally, the weekend is also for treating one’s self, and our source will take the opportunity to get her lashes done ($70).

Saturdays are also for socializing, and our source and her fiancé will either host friends and family, or head out on the town ($70). The evening will wind down at 2 am.

Check out previous “Show Me The Money” stories here.

By Sarah Comber