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Josh and his wife pay $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom condo; home prices in Victoria have yet to soften significantly. ‘We would like to live in Victoria but Calgary seems to be the better option,’ he says

Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail/Source: iStock

Name, age: Josh, 23

Annual income: $68,400

Debt: $0

Savings: $30,000 in tax-free savings account; $10,000 in registered retirement savings plan

What he does: Media relations

Where he lives: Vancouver Island

Top financial concern: “Down the road, our goal is to have a rental property of our own. I would also like to invest – but not have all my eggs in one basket.”


Paycheque Project is a non-judgmental look at how young adults in Canada are spending and saving their money. If you would like to participate, send us an e-mail.

At the young age of 23, Josh has proven he’s not afraid to work hard. A communications/media relations specialist with a not-for-profit on Vancouver Island, he spent his teen years working government internships, part-time for the YMCA and food banks, and helping run local political campaigns.

More recently he did a stint in the Canadian Army Reserve to help pay his tuition for university. “I lived at home, did basic training every weekend in the first semester and worked part-time at a grocery store,” he says. Josh is Métis, which meant he was also eligible for significant funding from the federal government. He graduated in the spring of 2021 with a political science degree.

A gift offered him a lesson in financial education. “My grandfather gave me a book, Simple Money by Greg Tomkins, on how to be good with your finances,” he says. It taught him the value of spending his money “in the right place” and avoiding impulse buys.

Early on, Josh wanted to build a good credit score and put expenses related to his jobs on his credit card. He made it a priority to pay what he owed each month on time, chipping away at the total in weekly instalments until the balance was gone. His positive borrowing track record helped him get a good rate on a car loan.

Despite getting married this past June, Josh and his wife have saved $51,000 toward a down payment on a house. The key, he says, was hosting an inexpensive wedding that didn’t erode their savings. They got married on a friend’s property and paid $400 for an upstairs room at the local Legion hall. The couple also received financial help from family. “We didn’t want to spend thousands on one day,” Josh says.

Currently, Josh and his wife pay $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom condo; home prices in Victoria have yet to soften significantly. “We would like to live in Victoria but Calgary seems to be the better option,” he says.

To save, Josh and his wife keep their expenses low. Examples of recreational activities include floating down a river on an inflatable, regular hiking, “and in September we’re going to the B.C. Derby, a horse racing show,” he says. He also drives a fuel efficient car, is a savvy grocery shopper and cooks plenty of meals at home.

He hopes to invest once his savings grow. “I would like to invest – but not have all of my eggs in one basket,” he says, adding he has a lot to learn about what investment path he would choose.

“When we’re both a bit more established we’ll have more to play around with,” he says. “We’ll see where things take us.”


His typical monthly expenses

Savings: $1,900

$1,900 to TFSA

$0 to RRSP

Household and transportation: $2,053

$1,300 to rent. “We’re moving into a two-bedroom with my wife’s friend. We’re trying to save for a house.”

$0 on utilities (included in rent)

$261 on car payment. “I drive a 2015 Mitsubishi RVR. I don’t fill it up as much as my ‘94 Honda.”

$162 on car insurance. His parents – who have excellent driving records – have been added to the coverage for him and his wife. “It brings the insurance down a little bit.”

$200 on gas. “We go on river floats and I hike one to two times a month.”

$50 on cellphone

$80 on Internet

$0 on Netflix (his parents share their account)

Food and drink: $700

$450 on groceries. “This has been high lately. We go to Save-On-Foods and Costco. I like to cook Asian dishes: chow mein and pad thai.”

$200 on eating out. “We have date night twice a month. We’ll go to Original Joe’s or Browns Socialhouse. Sometimes we’ll go to Chapters and get a coffee and a book to read.”

$50 on alcohol. “I will get Sleeman’s Honey Brown. My wife will get White Claw. On our short honeymoon in Kelowna, we stockpiled wines.”

Miscellaneous: $678

$20 on the gym. “I’m a health nerd. Fit4Less is very cheap.”

$25 on haircuts

$0 on clothing. “We use gift cards that we saved up from Christmas or birthdays. We go to RW & Co. or to Sport Chek for sports stuff.”

$0 on courses. “This might go up as my wife goes to school.”

$250 on hobbies. “My wife does equestrian horse riding.”

$150 on gifts

$233 on vacations ($2,800 a year). “Sometimes we go to Victoria or Vancouver for a trip. We do plan to take a vacation to Mexico.”

Total: $5,331


Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the person profiled. We want to thank him for sharing his story. Are you a millennial who would like to participate in a Paycheque Project? Send us an e-mail.