“We don’t have anything looming over us”: How a young couple juggles their townhouse, their wedding and their small business

"We don’t have anything looming over us": How a young couple juggles their townhouse, their wedding and their small business
(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Who: Rebecca Thorpe, 29, and Chris McKnight, 27

What they do: Rebecca is a business officer for the University of Toronto, and she also runs a small business that makes intricate paper maps. Her fiancé, Chris, helps with his family’s import-export business, and he’s also a mechanic at Skiis and Biikes in Mississauga.

What they make: Rebecca’s gross U of T salary is $63,500, but her net is around $36,000 annually after deductions for things like taxes, her pension, gym membership and health benefits; her paper-cutting business brings in $10,000 to $12,000 a year. Chris nets around $35,000 working for his family’s business, and an additional $15,000 from his mechanic gig. They bought a townhouse in the west end in early 2013, with an unspecified amount of financial help from family.

Some of how they spend it: Savings for their wedding in August: $2,300 a month. (Rebecca: “We decided to take a savings break and just direct the money exactly where it needed to go.”) Occupancy fees for the couple’s townhouse: $1,565 a month. (They’ll begin paying about $1,800 a month in monthly mortgage fees, plus $285 in maintenance fees, when their building registers over the summer.) Cellphone service for Rebecca, including a spare line her brother uses when he visits: $173.18 a month. (Chris is on the family’s business plan.) Advertising for Rebecca’s business: $100 a year. (Rebecca: “A lot of it is word of mouth.”) Home internet: $67.26 a month. Savings for a trip to South America in May 2017: $200 a month. (Rebecca: “We’re hoping to do some trekking down there and then go to the Galapágos.”) Car, home, life, personal and travel insurance: $2,544 a year. Upgrades to the couple’s townhouse in 2014, including pot lighting and quartz countertops: $40,000. (Rebecca: “We’ll probably be here at least five years.”) Debt repayments: $0. (Rebecca: “I worked three jobs all through university...We don’t have anything looming over us.”)

What they bought in one week: Watermelon at Longo’s for Chris’ mom on Mother’s Day: $4.98. (Chris: “I didn’t want to do flowers.”) Bottle of chain lubricant from Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop: $14.98. Card stock and X-acto blades for Rebecca’s business: $70.24. Premium gas at Shell: $53.35. (They own the car outright and don’t make lease payments.) Mother’s Day gift from Canadian Tire: $14.67. (Rebecca: “We bought my stepmother a corn broom. That’s what she wanted.”) One packet of culinary-grade lavender: $6.00. (Rebecca: “We’re testing out a cocktail for our wedding.”) Groceries at FreshCo: $44.80. (Chris: “On a Sunday, we’ll take a look at all the flyers.”) Live plants for the couple’s wedding: $23.00.

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