Month-to-Month: How a Journalism Student Lives on $1,900 a Month

Yes…she dips into the reserves.

Name: Haley LewisGross salary: $15,143Haley Lewis is a millennial who eats avocado toast for breakfast, and sometimes even for dinner. This past year, she has been living in student residences at UBC while working on a two-year Master’s program in journalism. Her tuition and books are paid for by a private scholarship that also gives her money each month to help with living expenses. During the school year she works part time as a communications assistant for UBC’s economics department.

The Monthly Bill

Net monthly income: $1,880

Bachelor Suite in UBC Campus Residence …… $975(Utilities and internet are included. There’s no stove or oven in the suite, just a kitchenette.)

Smart Phone with Bell …… $103(Unlimited nation-wide calling, texting and 1 GB of data. Normally $93. “I usually always go over my data.”)

Phone maintenance …… $57(She unlocked her phone from the network for an upcoming trip abroad.)

Travel …… $17(BC Ferries walk-on fare to Nanaimo. Her aunt paid for her return trip on Harbour Air. “I flew back, it was the Easter long weekend…and I had to get back to work.”)  

UK Work Visa and Travel Health Insurance …… $1,045(She’s doing an internship with the CBC in London for the summer.)

Clothing …… $506(Summer clothes from Forever21, Urban Outfitters and Van Caissey. New work shoes from Aldo, and three pairs of pants from American Eagle. “I bought two of the same pair ’cause they’re so comfy, you never know when they’re going to stop selling them.”)

Entertainment …… $23(Went to see Get Out at Cineplex. “I thought it was a really good analysis of culture.”)Groceries …… $266(“I shop in very small bits because all I have is half a fridge, a toaster and a microwave.”)

Body Shop Skin Care …… $48(“I buy tea-tree everything: face wash, face masks. I ran out of everything, so I bought them all new.”)

Shoppers Drug Mart …… $25

Restaurants …… $221(Mercantes, La Taqueria, The Acorn, Thai Cuisine, Koerner’s Pub, Freshii, Cactus Club)

Food and Drink at Cafés …… $98(Haley does a lot of school work at cafés: Gallery 2.0, JJ Bean, Boulevard Coffee, Bean Around the World)

Nail Salon …… $81(Going forward she’s giving up on the “twice-a-month vice” of getting her nails shellacked because it’s too expensive )

Books …… $54(“My friends and I are doing a book club for the summer while we’re all away on our internships.”)

Photography Equipment …… $204(She sold her old camera on Craigslist and purchased a new one; this is the difference between the two, plus a new camera bag.)

Total Spent: $3,723

The Remainder: -$1,843

(This was an unusually expensive month due to the summer clothes shopping and the travel visa and insurance. “That’s when I start eating into my savings. I’m lucky because I’ve been working for the federal government since becoming a student, and it pays a lot better.”)

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