“It works for us”: How a married couple lives on $26,000 a year

“It works for us”: How a married couple lives on $26,000 a year

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

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Who: Tokyo and Meredith Speirs, ages 26 and 29

What they do: Tokyo is a freelance music producer at a North York recording studio called MH Studios, and Meredith is a barista at the Only Café. They returned to Toronto in October after an eight-month trip around the world, during which they kept costs down by couch-surfing and trading labour for free accommodations.

What they make: About $26,000 a year, combined and before tax.

Some of how they spend it: Their portion of the rent on a five-bedroom home at Danforth and Greenwood, which they share with four other people, including another married couple: $500 a month. (Tokyo: “It works for us. We don’t mind sharing kitchenware, and we don’t mind cooking together.”) Utilities: $60 a month. Cellphones: $75 a month. Home phone, cable and internet, split with their housemates: $26 a month. Transportation: $156 a month. Charity: $25 a month. (Meredith: “We help support my friend Eunice through a registered charity. She works as a missionary in Mexico City.”) Debt payments: $0. (Meredith: “After we got married in 2013, our first goal was to pay off debt. We pretty much decided we did not have money until we paid it off.”)

What they bought in one week: Groceries from Food Basics: $37. Wood, screws and dowels from Home Depot, to build shelves: $26. (Tokyo: “DIY projects are interesting, and more fun than just buying something.”) Clothes from the Salvation Army: $5. Wine and beer: $13. Housewares from Dollarama: $12. Rideshare to Ottawa and back: $60. Coffee: $0. (Meredith gets it from work for free.)

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