This public-sector lawyer makes $103,000 a year. How does she spend it?

“It doesn’t bother me that I’ll probably never own a home”

By Roxy Kirshenbaum| Photography by Brittany Carmichael
This public-sector lawyer makes $103,000 a year. How does she spend it?

Who: Sophie Rogowska, 35 What she does: She’s a litigator specializing in administrative law What she makes: $103,000 Where she lives: A one-bedroom apartment in St. Clair West Village

Regular Expenses

Rent: $2,089 a month. “When I moved here in 2018, I fell in love with this unit. I’ve never felt the desire to own a home, so it doesn’t bother me that I probably never will.”

Utilities: $100 to $150 a month. “This includes hydro, gas and internet, which are shared with the downstairs tenant.”

Cell: $39 a month. “I’m stingy about mobile, so I use SpeakOut Wireless from 7-Eleven. I also buy refurbished phones instead of new ones, since they’re just as good and you get to divert a phone from the landfill.”

Groceries: $280 a month. “I live right beside No Frills. That helps keep food costs low. During the summer, I go to the Wychwood Barns Farmers Market. The quality is unbeatable.”

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Going out: $200 to $300 a month. “I never want to say no to an invitation from a friend. I’ll go to museums, picnics, dances, yoga, community theatre—anything new and exciting. In Toronto, there’s something for everyone, at any price point. You just have to look.”

Transportation: $143 a month for a TTC pass. “I learned how to drive 15 years ago—and then forgot, so I rely on transit.”

Subscriptions: $40 a month. “I use a lot of apps to organize my life, like Todoist, YNAB and Plan to Eat. I cancelled Netflix because I didn’t like the feeling of being behind on my TV-watching.”

Clothing: $20 a month. “I hate shopping for clothes and avoid it. Most of my new stuff comes from swaps with friends. Not only is it cheaper—it’s a lot of fun.”

Hair: $70 a month. “The only downside of having a short hairstyle is frequent haircuts.”

Investing: $600 a month. “This is a monthly Questrade auto deposit that goes straight into ETFs. I’m not sure what I’m saving for, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”

Debt payments: $0. “I used to work in the bankruptcy field, so I have a phobia of credit card debt. I paid off my student debt two years ago. I went to law school in Montreal, where tuition and the cost of living are much less. I think I’d still be in debt if I’d studied here.”


Donations: $500 a month. “I support GiveDirectly and the North York Harvest Food Bank as well as refugee and climate action non-profits.”

Storage and plants in Sophie Rogowska's apartment
A one-bedroom apartment in St. Clair West Village
The kitchen in a one-bedroom rental in St. Clair West Village
Sophie Rogowska watering her plants in St. Clair West Village
Recent Splurges

Nikon Z 50 camera: $1,400. “I took up photography during the pandemic and recently upgraded my equipment.”

Photography courses: $785. “I wanted some in-person learning, so I registered for two continuing-education classes through George Brown College.”

Deck storage: $440. “I needed something lockable to stop the critters from getting into my balcony gardening supplies. I was shocked at how much it cost.”


Flight to Poland: $2,500. “After my grandmother died, I went for her funeral. It was expensive because it was last minute and coincided with Easter, but it was worth it to be there with my family.”

Vacation: $2,670. “I went to Buenos Aires for 10 days to visit a friend, take pictures and tango. I also found a long-lost relative’s grave in the Jewish cemetery, which was an incredibly moving experience.”


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