How a 35-year-old Vancouver-based graduate student spends:

  • SALARY: I make C$18,000 as a graduate student in Greater Vancouver, Canada. My wife makes about C$40,000. 
  • SAVINGS: I have C$4,750 in savings. This includes an emergency fund and part of future months' expenses because I get "paid" every four months.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay C$990 to rent a two-bedroom apartment. I do not have health insurance, and I don’t contribute to an RRSP (the Canadian equivalent of a 401(k)). I do pay for Netflix and a student Spotify account. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I am paying C$300 to C$500 per month and should be done later this year. Student loans are in interest-free status, and those come next.
  • INVESTING: Dad wanted to gift money to invest into Canada's tax-free savings account, but it ended up being sucked back out to use for school tuition.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The classic young person trip to Europe: nine weeks of joy with my bestie just before the end of college.
  • SPENDING REGRET: Blindly using a credit card to pay for the repairs needed to insure a car in a new province (and paying WAY more than the value of the car).
  • CHARITY: Back when I was working, I made a paycheck contribution to United Way.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d pay for housing. (OK, I'd probably pay off all my debt first).
  • GOALS: I owe my partner $5 million from a bet we made and that's meant to be our "high" retirement goal. We want to build a tiny house, although I might be aging out of that.
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