“Going to a coffee shop is my indulgence”: how Valentina Leucona, a student and recent immigrant, lives on $1,200 a month

“Going to a coffee shop is my indulgence”: how Valentina Leucona, a student and recent immigrant, lives on $1,200 a month

(Image: Gabby Frank) (Image: Gabby Frank)
 

Who: Valentina Leucona, 26, who moved to Toronto from Venezuela in August.

What she does: Advertising account management student at Centennial College, and also a waitress at a private club downtown.

What she makes: $1,200 to $1,300 a month. (“I work about three or four nights a week, and I have another part-time job which is on-call. I’m a server there too, but only for functions, parties, weddings. I work anywhere from 25 to 30 hours a week.”)

Some of how she spends it: Rent on a basement studio apartment near Danforth and Woodbine: $900 a month. (“It’s very comfortable. It has everything. I don’t even have to pay for TV, internet, nothing. Everything’s included.”) Cell service: $45 per month. Monthly Metropass, with student discount: $112. $100 in monthly student-debt payments, starting in September. (“I’m nervous about paying those loans. Especially because I don’t have a permanent job right now, and it all depends on me getting an internship.”)

What she bought in one week: Zucchinis, eggplants and lightbulbs from Valu-mart: $8. (“I didn’t spend a lot on groceries because my fridge was fully stocked. I buy milk and meat in bulk. I spend about $150 on groceries per month.”) Tax return: $31. Resumé copies: $5. (“I’m applying for internships.”) Coffee: $0. (“I have my coffee pot here at the house. Actually going to the coffee shop is, like, my indulgence.”)