“I’m a little stretched at the moment”: how an IT help desk worker lives on around $70,000 a year
Who: Khôi Hồ, 40
What he does: IT support at a management consulting firm. “If my company’s consultants have problems with email, or calendars, or messaging, they call me.”
What he makes: Around $70,000, before tax.
Some of how he spends it: Mortgage payments and maintenance on a one-bedroom condo near Donlands and Cosburn, purchased last year: $1,647 a month. (“I would say I’m a little stretched at the moment, but I’m paying less than I paid when I was renting.”) Utilities: $101 a month. Car payments on a 2011 Kia Optima: $236, biweekly. Insurance: $138, monthly. Transportation: $122, monthly. (“It’s mostly for gasoline.”) Internet and cell service, including the cost of a VPN subscription and Netflix: $236 a month.
What he bought in one week: Groceries: $359, paid for by his partner, Juan Carlos, a 33-year-old contractor who also lives in the condo. (“He pays for the groceries 100 per cent, but nothing else at the moment.”) An evening at Fly, a nightclub in the Church-Wellesley Village: $62, including beers and cover. (“We go maybe once or twice a year. We left early, at 1:30 a.m., so you know it was bad.”) Dinner for four at Pho Com Vietnam: $64. (“I’m Vietnamese, so I frequently visit Vietnamese restaurants, maybe two, three times a month. I like the pho and the com tam.”) Lotto Max tickets: $10. (“I play every week, for two dollars. This week I bought extra.”)
90 thoughts on ““I’m a little stretched at the moment”: how an IT help desk worker lives on around $70,000 a year”
who pays that much for a Kia?!
$70,000 a year and you’re “a little stretched”??? All you do is fix problems with email, or calendars, or messaging? Where is it you work cause i’m coming over.
Seriously. yikes.. dude got ripped off.
How does anyone approve printing this drivel? New title “How does an average guy do average things on a slightly above-average salary? Click to find out!!!”
$359 on groceries for one week for 2 people? What are they buying – caviar and champagne?
Seriously, where is this management consulting firm? I work in IT, i do 10 times the work for much less than this guys makes. Get me a job there for $70,000 and i’ll never complain.
Groceries cost me $70-80 a week. So $359 is not unrealistic.
Is this a joke?
C’mon guys, let’s suggest good examples on how to optimize these costs?
E.g. I pay $36 for my internet (TekSavvy – allows me to stream video and everything else), $45 for my mobile (Koodo – unlimited plan). I know Netflix is about $7-10 a month? I have no single complain about the services (I don’t use Netflix though) and in total it is close to $90 a month instead of $236 claimed in the article.
This was for a week…
I don’t know. Sounds about right to me. But then again, I don’t eat Spaghettios or Spam, so one’s mileage may vary.
What’s your download speed for TekSavvy? (If you’re streaming video, my guess is that it’s at least adequate.) Are you streaming episodic TV and movies or just short youtube vids?
$45 for mobile unlimited talk and text? What kind of data plan do you have (if any)?
I’d really like to cut my costs so am interested in your thoughts on it.
$239 biweekly for a Kia?! I pay about the same for my Mercedes-Benz lol.. this guy clearly mismanaged the car notes..
I watch movies, shows and TV programs online. I am happy with hte quality.
Koodo – see the plans below. Mine is at $45. I have no complain about the coverage so far – using it bout 1 month, switched from Bell.
probably this payment includes insurabce too?
Adorable couple, adorable place and kudos for sharing your personal expenses with the community. Everyone chooses to spend money on what is most important to them …good food is high my list too …assuming this is groceries for more than one week … or you eat very very well :)
What is up with all the haters? Jealous much? It takes courage to talk about one’s personal expenses. All you losers with nasty comments can go back to your loser lives.
Ya, my husband and I have a high grocery/food bill per month but we eat organic and go out probably 2 a week for dinner or brunch.
Hope you’re budgeting for retirement. That’s another grand or so a month. Add in about $350/mo after tax for yourself to take an annual vacation somewhere. $700 if you’re paying for your construction worker freeloader to go with you. Not surprised that $70K is a little tight though. Just because one CAN live on Kraft dinner, in a low rent dump, and picking their groceries from a foodbank like all the other whiner commenters doesn’t mean one SHOULD. Quit your bellyaching poor people.
Is this satire…
How about doing a real story, like “how a single mom lives on 50k a year and supports her child without whining about feeling ‘a little stretched'”
Lotto Max costs $5 per play. What? It’s a fact.
Ever consider that maybe his loan term is shorter than yours?
Agreed, this article was a complete waste of time.
Unbelievable….we are a family or six, my spouse has m.s. And is a wheel chair at all times and cannot work. My the older kids are boys. I make just under $30,000. How can he be stretched?
I live on much, much less. About 1/5th. 14 000 per year. I spend 100$ every 2 weeks on groceries for 2 people.
Oh you poor soul. Please… tell the starving kids in Africa or heck, even here in Canada how you’re so stretched! When people live beyond their means, they tend to feel that way. Decide what is necessary and quit complaining, for Heaven’s sake! The world has bigger issues.
Where do you see the person complaining? He said he’s a bit stretched, which is a fair comment. YOU stop complaining, and stop reading too much into things. The guy seems like he’s pretty happy with his life.
TekSavvy runs at the exact same speed as bell or rogers (depends on if you want it cable or dsl). Only added cost is that you need to buy your modem and router up front
Exactly the same here! TekSavvy, Koodo and Netflix… why would people use anything else? I live comfortably on a third of what he makes.
Right, so you spend in 1 month what they spend in 1 week on groceries….
And how the fuck do you spend $64 on Vietnamese?
Yup, and byuing modem pays back in 3-4 months comparing to Bell depending on plans.
BOO F**KIN HOO.
Thanks for your reply, Alex. Definitely worth the switch, I think.
Seriously, Amber?!? Are you always this sanctimonious? Have you never ever once in your lifetime made a comment, when asked, on the fact that money might be a bit tight that week/month? If you did, I hope no one jumped down your throat, responding with a patronizing and bitchy “Oh you poor soul”.
Must be nice to be the only person on earth who has never once said anything even mildly negative about their finances. Either that, or you’re a starving child in Africa. Because, according to you, those are the only two scenarios in which you, Amber-Leigh, are not a bloody hypocrite.
And next time you have an issue and share it, I hope everyone simply responds “The world has bigger issues” and walks away from you.
If you think it’s easy to live on $70,000/year, owning a condo and a car, buying healthy organic food, paying all your bills, saving for something, and living a little… maybe you don’t live in Toronto. House prices here are insane. I earn 100,000 and it’s damn near impossible for me to buy an actual freestanding house anywhere in the city core. Shit is expensive here people. Maybe if you live in Waco TX, and you can buy a beautiful 5 bedroom house for 150k, then 70k/year is plenty. 70k isn’t much in Toronto if you’re living decently; it’s not like he’s bathing in luxury. He’s got a small condo, an economy car, little entertainment expendature. Sure there are people who have less, and there are people who have a lot more. It doesn’t make it any easier to live in the middle of the road (which is moving farther and farther down from the middle into poverty). Most of “our generation” is feeling a little stretched, even those making competitive salaries.
Who the hell is paying this guy 70 K for a IT help desk position ?!?! Can we please cover how hard it is for a new grad to attain a job in the city or how a single parent home is surviving on 35K or less. #TORONTOLIFE
everything in life is relative … this is no different … I think there are a lot of people in Nepal right now who would say every person on this thread is out to lunch …
Sorry to say, this article carry no sense at all. I would rather say he spends too much. Should have told the story of someone who lives on a minimum budget.
Sounds like you already are… If this guy is making $70k… he probably deserves it.
He spends on average $732/month on his car… I guess taking TTC around is not an option?
I think that condom and lube are in the grocery store.
the story isnt fake since they are in fact real people
Except they might last him a month. I do a big shop for a family of 4 that costs me about 500 once a month………..Doesn’t mean I spend 500 a week, just that particular week……….
Use wind, combine the internet and mobile for ~$50 a month.
$50/week for 2 people? what are you buying/where are you shopping?
It’s not a real number in a sense. His partner is paying for it and you have to factor in that the guy isn’t paying anything else, so probably makes sense that he’s sweetening the deal. I bet neither of them would spend that much on groceries outside of this financial set up.
Has anyone truly read between the lines on this story? He is essentially saying that life in Toronto is extremely expensive. Food costs quite a bit- there aren’t very many cheaply priced groceries in the core- especially organic. Toronto’s housing prices are through the roof. I’m surprised he’s not paying more on car insurance; for a young driver in the city it costs about $800 a month for INSURANCE alone.
Either way- what they’re truly saying is that it’s expensive as hell, and even the people who make a (technically) decent living are stretched. Can you imagine what it’s like for a recent grad?
would love to see you write about truthful salaries !!!! If your stretched at 7 0,000 a year would live to see you live off the average workers income minimum wage.If we are going to do lifestyle pieces let’s talk real shall we…..I live off 22,000 a year , my rent is 1000,00 a month transportation is 138.50 groceries 400.00 a month that has to include all my dlilies dish soap laundry sKap toothpaste etc,,, my phone bill is 70.00 I don’t have cable I do not go out ,,, Know that’s real
Financial problems often has nothing to do with how much money people make but how people manage their money.
Thanks Mike! Yeah, I’d have no problem buying the modem to get a good deal like that.
Why we talk about gender confused people? Are there any interesting topics about normal people?
Hi..I get $1628 a month on disability. Minus $806. For my rent. I have a payday loan for $300. Leaving me enough for cell phone, car insurance, and gas and groceries. I go to thrift stores for clothes…pawn shops for used movies to watch because I can’t afford cable.
So I make around $19,000 a year.
How the fk do these 2 bring in $70,000 and blow it?
I ate a $10.00 Soup at Tokyo express 2 weeks ago and barely had enough…that’s an extravegence. ..So how do they figure their stretched?
Nope. He said 236 bi-weekly PLUS insurance
No no, the guy alone makes 70k$. His partner probably pulls in another 50k$, at least. And these idiots feel like they’re stretched… You’re the real MVP here.
Tecsavvy internet / wind or koodoo cell plan / metro pass. Just saved this idiot about 650$ a month.
I buy rice, vegetables and beans from Chinatown and local fruit markets. I almost never buy meat. I occasionally do go over this of course. Also I forage wild foods and bake my own bread.
Also I never turn down my friends or family when they invite us over for dinner, which is weekly☺
Just wondering how many starving children any where in the world you sponsor?
(seriously…. they are human beings and not a punch line for you to use)
There are times most people with a moderate income will feel stretched (except you of course because your perfect).
Usually events such as buying your first home adds to your housing cost for the first few years. down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, etc. But buying property in a good location is always advantageous in the long run (unless you believe that you could buy the same place for less money in 10 or 15 years)
First get your facts straight.
1. If you take away housing costs he spends monthly $833, That sounds unreasonable to you??? Do you ever leave your house and live?
2 What he spends in the week (minus Groceries) is $126, and that sounds unreasonable to you??? How cheap are you?
BTW – this was just a comment about how he feels – the only one complaining is you!
$12 per person x 4 people = 48.
13% tax + 15% tips = 48*(1.28) = 61.44
Really? $70K is double what I make. Stretched? This is obscene.
Instead of embracing This mans lifestyle choices and how a gay couple can succeed in everything vanilla, they blew it by sarcastically attacking he’s income and how he spends it . What was the initial purpose of the interview ? To ridicule a gay couple trying to make a living in Toronto on $70K? Seems pretty petty to me…
“In appreciation of the efforts of UNHCR,the RedCross and Malaysian Red Crescent Society and other world relief organizations. The Malaysian Goverment and people as well as all countries of first asylum and resettlement. We also express out gratitude to the thousands of individuals who worked hard in helping the Vietnamese refugees.” – OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE COMMUNITIES 2005.
I’m a single sole support mother, full time nursing student who supports and takes care of two small kids on 36k/yr. My tuition and textbooks come out of that amount, too. But it isn’t a competition, just one guy’s story.
Aside from the ‘little stretched’ in the headline. It doesn’t seem like they are really complaining about their financial situation. They seem to be living within their means.
hey you could be stretched making a million a year it all depends on how much you spend.
They seem like nice guys. Interesting to see how people in the city live.
You need $120k a year
dropping the car if you live downtown can get you by alot easier
I’ve been to Toronto a couple of times and instantly felt the insane taxation and over the top prices for gas, goods and alcohol. How does anyone afford to drink in Toronto? That being said, I can understand why you might feel stretched. And that’s coming from someone living in Boston where I spend close to $400 USD/month on groceries for a family of four and we eat well.
Some real angry comments on here….
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember anyone calling it fake.
Why don’t they do a story on how a person with a disability getting only 13,176.00 a year on ODSP, and paying $700.00 a month rent is supposed to live in this city, or any city in Ontario for that matter.
The Ontario Liberals do not care about the physically disabled people in this province, and haven’t for way to long. I say it’s time to change that culture.
That’s a story worth writing.
That’s exactly the point of these articles. To show where everyday (average) people spend their money. If you don’t like it, don’t read the article, numbnut.
The salary of a CEO at a fortune 500 company is just as “truthful” and as “real” as the salary of a person making minimum wage.
I wonder if you would have the same opinion of this article if you made more than this person does. Would you argue that it’s not “truthful” or real enough?
Really? Do you really know how much work this person does, based on one line of text?
I mean, do you know how much experience this person has in this field? How many years he’s worked? How hard he’s worked to get to where he is? If he’s had to make any sacrifices? What he specializes in?
Just because you work in IT too, does not mean you deserve the same pay as this person does.
By starting CinTO’s comment with “How about doing a real story”, she is implying that this story is “not real”, which is essentially the same as saying this story is fake.
$359 on groceries for one week for 2 people? What are they, buying fresh food and produce? Not buying canned food? Skipping the frozen juices or something?
The world has bigger issues. Very true.
What I meant by truthful and maybe used the wrong word is the more realistic income earners .Of course everyone has a story and they say the more you make the more you spend so never suggested that this fellow wouldn’t be stretched at 70,000 as this is how he has adapted his lifestyle , I just thought it would be nice if you do am article on being stretched financially you would include a look at lower income earners….Thank you for your response to my reply.Im not naive to the fact that even a millionaire can be stretched , I just feel in the interest of the way the economy is we could take a better look that’s more realistic !!!!
If that’s all he does, then yeah, i deserve more. I do way more than what he says he does in the article. If he’s “a little stretched” making $70,000/yr then he’s obviously pretty poor at managing his money and there is a lot of spending that hasn’t been disclosed here. Maybe it’s time his partner Juan, stepped up and paid his half, instead of just groceries.
I wish i was making that much.
I budget about $500 a month for myself and my son. However, we eat b’fast at home every day, we take lunch to work/school each day and dinner in as well. I cook from scratch, mainly organic and local, and buy absolutely NO junk food — well, the odd bag of chips or soda if he has friends over (he’s 12) or he plans to watch a game on TV but I usually buy that crap from the dollar store. Good, healthy food is not cheap. I subscribe to a organic delivery service every other week to buy our fresh produce and organic eggs. Shop at my local butcher and fish monger or buy from St. Lawrence Market once a month. NOT CHEAP … but it’s my choice to feed our family this way.
I agree. I’m making $100K and renting a home in a nice neighbourhood to give my kids access to a great public school because I can’t afford to buy here and the neighbourhood I can afford has less than appealing schools. We are living well, but I’d love to own my own home ….
Him and his Bf are 4 persons?
I live in Toronto, was born here, never left and you’re wrong.
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