Month-to-Month: How 2 UBC Administrators Live on $8,700 a Month in Vancouver

Parents, dog owners and super-full-time workers Joanna and Chris have got it all figured out.

Names: Joanna Hunter and Chris PayneGross salary combined: $150,000Chris Payne and Joanna Hunter share parenting duties for their two-year old daughter Elliott, a $200-per-month coffee habit, and a tendency to finish each other’s sentences. They also each juggle 50-hour-plus work weeks—Chris is the manager of international recruitment for undergraduate students at UBC and travels a lot for work, Joanna is UBC’s manager of academics and compliance in athletics, which means she makes sure student athletes are keeping their grades up. Busy as they are with a kid, a dog and super-full-time jobs, they keep things manageable by maximizing their combined 11 weeks of vacation and by living on campus so they’re never stuck in rush-hour traffic.

The Monthly Bill

Combined net monthly income: $8,731

Two-bedroom apartment on UBC campus …… $2,225(Subsidized staff-housing rate, there’s a yard for kids to play and lots of families live nearby.)

Utilities …… $30

Renter’s Insurance …… $46

Wireless Internet Package….. $112

Shaw TV Package ….. $106

Daycare …… $1,405(“It’s a subsidized price, I don’t know by how much,” says Joanna. “The kids-to-instructor ratio is pretty small…she’s in a group of 10 other kids,” adds Chris.)

RRSP …… $100

Data & Talk for two smart phones,after their $120 combined subsidy from UBC …… $381(Chris had forgotten to pay his phone bill the month before, and on top of that says “That’s a little bit high because I was away and on roaming. There’s insurance on it in case Elliott throws my phone into the pool.”)

Gas …… $50(Since they live on campus, they walk to work.)

Car Insurance …… $132

Bus …… $30

Trip to the Aquarium …… $244(Renewed annual family membership. It “pays for itself after three trips,” says Chris.)

UBC Aquatic Centre Swim Pass….. $70(“We take Elliott pretty much every weekend,” says Chris. Joanna gets a free pass because she works in the athletics department.)

Restaurants and Pubs …… $693(They eat out once or twice a week, “lets’ just be real,” says Joanna. This month they hit up White Spot, Burgoo, Panago, Colony Bar, Biercraft, McDonalds and Dough Girl.)

Coffee …… $220(“That’s where I think most of our money for our down payment is going,” says Joanna. “We each buy coffee once a day during the work week,” says Chris.)

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt ….. $22(“I like a good Menchie’s now and again,” says Chris. “Lately it’s been a little more often because I’ve been stressed with work. To get the full experience I’d want ice cream, but I’ll take frozen yogurt.”)

Groceries …… $1,265

Liquor Stores …… $246(“It was my birthday so we hosted a little thing at our place,” says Joanna. “We’ll buy a bottle of wine a week or beer and just have one with dinner.”)

Nail Salon …… $43

Clothing …… $301(Work clothes for Joanna at Club Monaco.)

Drugstore …… $5

Gifts …… $56

Garden Supplies …… $51

Chris’s NCAA Sports Pool …… $20(“A one time a year thing,” Chris says.)

Total Spent: $7,853

The Remainder: $878(“The extra left over either goes towards vacation or we put it towards next month,” says Chris.)

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