The 22-year-old singer from Guelph earns $33,000 as a receptionist but dreams of fully supporting herself through her music

Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail/SOURCE: Getty Images

Name Age: Cheryl, 22

Annual revenue: $41,760 (including music concerts)

Debt: $0

Savings: $9,900 in savings account; $1,800 in TFSA; $10,000 in limited partnership with a home builder

What she does: receptionist, freelance musician

Where she lives: Guelph, Ont.

Main financial concern: “I don’t like being in debt. I would like to fully support myself by making music.


Paycheque Project is a non-judgmental look at how young adults in Canada spend their money.

There were no frills when Cheryl was growing up. “My parents were my age when they got married,” she says. “They had to work their way up.”

It’s an approach that Cheryl tries to emulate. She managed to save $1,800 in a tax-free savings account and $9,900 in his checking account, largely thanks to a banner year. As a singer, she earned $9,000 performing at private functions and concert halls in southern Ontario. “This year I had three shows every weekend,” she says. “I didn’t really expect to book so many shows. I would like to fully support myself by making music.

To pay for her expenses and make up for lost time during her layoff during the pandemic, Cheryl currently works as a receptionist and earns $18 an hour. This job allowed him to eliminate his $7,000 student loan for a business management course at a Toronto college in just five months. “I graduated in April and by September I had paid for everything,” she says. “I don’t like being in debt.”

As she saves money to buy her own house, her parents have allowed her to live at home rent-free. They also cover most household and grocery expenses. In order to build up her down payment, she is not traveling this year and will continue to drive a 10-year-old car. She is track expenses using a spreadsheet.

His parents recently started invest in a limited partnership with a home builder. Although she acknowledges that the investment is considered medium to high risk, Cheryl jumped at the chance to get involved. The money is pooled with other investors, which the builder uses to develop properties. She says she invested $10,000 and receives a $100 per month dividend from the builder, which she reinvests in the limited partnership.

“I want to buy a house later,” Cheryl says, “although it’s unlikely I’ll be able to do it alone.” She says she could move west – she loves British Columbia – but admits real estate costs are high there. She also wants to visit Europe next year if she earns enough money.

In the meantime, she hopes to develop her musical career, supported by her parents, who place great importance on savings.

“They’re very convenient,” says Cheryl. “But they also believe in living your life. I’m working to become a full-time musician.


His typical monthly expenses:

Investment and savings: $650

$350 to the savings account. “I use my checking account to pay for car insurance and for outings. »

$0 to RRSP.

$200 to the TFSA. “When the TFSA reaches $5,000, I will invest it in the limited partnership.

$100 to the limited partnership. “It’s with a home builder. It’s so that my sister and I can save money and be able to afford a house.

Cleaning and transportation: $581

$0 to rent out. She lives at home with her parents.

$156 on car insurance. “I bought a 2012 Ford Edge with new tires two years ago. I paid cash. »

$50 on car repairs. “It’s a 10 year old car but belonged to an old lady who barely drove it.”

$300 on gas. “I had a lot of gigs in Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, London. I had to refuel twice a week in the summer.

$75 on mobile phone. “I’m with Freedom Mobile. I get 20G of data. »

Food and drink: $180

$40 on the grocery store. “We have a Zehrs down the street and a Food Basics. I get vegetables, salads and frozen meals.

$100 at the restaurant. “This year, I’ve been a little more sociable. Sometimes I go to a cafe and work on stuff.

$40 on alcohol. “I usually go to the LCBO and grab a bottle of wine or a pack of Seagram coolers.”

Miscellaneous: $223

$25 At the sports. “I play in a recreational volleyball league.”

$20 on leisure. “I love shopping for paint-by-number projects on Amazon.”

$100 on the clothes. “I sing at a lot of events so I don’t want to wear the same outfit. I buy different pieces that I can mix and match with things. I shop a lot at Shein.

$15 on haircuts/cosmetic services.

$25 on dental.

$10 on orders. “I have insurance thanks to my work.”

$10 on apps. “I pay for Spotify.”

$13 on cannabis.

$0 on holiday. “I want to be able to travel. My next plan is Europe – maybe in the new year.

$5 on the books.

Total $1,634

Some details may be changed to protect the profiled person’s privacy. We would like to thank her for sharing her story. Are you a millennial or Gen Z who would like to participate in a paycheck project? Email us.


Are you a young Canadian with money on your mind? To set you up for success and avoid costly mistakes, listen to our award-winning Stress Test podcast.

Comments are closed.