Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail/Source: iStock

Name Age: Joe, 23 years old

Annual revenue: $68,400

Debt: $0

Savings: $30,000 in a tax-free savings account; $10,000 in Registered Retirement Savings Plan

What is he doing: Media Relations

Where he lives: Vancouver Island

Main financial concern: “Later, our goal is to have our own rental property. I would also like to invest – but not put all my eggs in one basket.

Paycheque Project is a non-judgmental look at how young adults in Canada spend and save their money. If you wish to participate, Email us.

At the age of 23, Josh proved he wasn’t afraid to work hard. A communications and media relations specialist with a not-for-profit organization on Vancouver Island, he spent his teenage years interning for government, part-time for the YMCA and food banks, and participating in local political campaigns.

More recently, he did a stint in the Canadian Army Reserve to help pay for his university tuition. “I was living at home, doing basic training every weekend in the first semester, and working part-time at a grocery store,” he says. Josh is Métis, which meant he also qualified for significant funding from the federal government. He graduated in the spring of 2021 with a degree in political science.

A gift offered him a lesson in financial education. “My grandfather gave me a book, single money by Greg Tomkins, on how to be good with your finances,” he says. It taught him the value of spending his money “in the right place” and avoiding impulse purchases.

From the start, Josh wanted to establish a good credit rating and put his job-related expenses on his credit card. He made it a priority to pay what he owed each month on time, chipping away at the total in weekly installments until the balance was exhausted. His positive borrowing history helped him get a good rate on a car loan.

Although they married last June, Josh and his wife saved $51,000 for a down payment on a house. The key, he said, was to have an inexpensive wedding that didn’t erode their savings. They got married on a friend’s property and paid $400 for an upstairs room at the local Legion hall. The couple also received financial assistance from the family. “We didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars in one day,” says Josh.

Currently, Josh and his wife pay $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom apartment; house prices in Victoria have yet to come down significantly. “We would like to live in Victoria, but Calgary seems like the best option,” he says.

To save money, Josh and his wife limit their spending. Examples of recreational activities include floating down a river on an inflatable, regular hiking, “and in September we go to the BC Derby, a horse racing show,” he says. He also drives a fuel-efficient car, is a savvy shopper, and cooks a lot of meals at home.

He hopes to invest once his savings grow. “I would like to invest – but not all my eggs in one basket,” he says, adding that he has a lot to learn about the investment path he would choose.

“When we’re both a little more established, we’ll have more to play with,” he says. “We will see where things take us.

His typical monthly expenses

Savings: $1,900

$1,900 to the TFSA

$0 to RRSP

Cleaning and transportation: $2,053

$1,300 to rent out. “We are moving into a two-room apartment with my wife’s friend. We are trying to save for a house.

$0 on charges (included in the rent)

$261 on car payment. “I drive a 2015 Mitsubishi RVR. I don’t fill it up as much as my 1994 Honda.”

$162 on car insurance. His parents – who have excellent driving records – were added to the cover for him and his wife. “It lowers the insurance a bit.”

$200 on gas. “We go on river floats and I hike once or twice a month.”

$50 on mobile phone

$80 on the Internet

$0 on Netflix (his parents share their account)

Food and drink: $700

$450 on the grocery store. “It’s been high lately. We go to Save-On-Foods and Costco. I like to cook Asian food: chow mein and pad thai.

$200 at the restaurant. “We have a date twice a month. We will go to Original Joe’s or Browns Socialhouse. Sometimes we go to Chapters and have a coffee and a book to read.

$50 on alcohol. “I’m going to buy Honey Brown from Sleeman. My wife will have White Claw. On our short honeymoon in Kelowna, we stocked up on wines.

Miscellaneous: $678

$20 on the gymnasium. “I’m a health nerd. Fit4Less is very inexpensive.

$25 about haircuts

$0 on the clothes. “We use gift cards that we have saved at Christmas or birthdays. We go to RW & Co. or Sport Chek for the sporty stuff.

$0 on the courses. “It could increase when my wife goes to school.”

$250 on leisure. “My wife is horseback riding.”

$150 on gifts

$233 on vacation ($2,800 per year). “Sometimes we go to Victoria or Vancouver for a trip. We are planning to take a vacation to Mexico.

Total: $5,331

Some details may be changed to protect the profiled person’s privacy. We would like to thank him for sharing his story. Are you a millennial who would like to participate in a paycheck project? Email us.