How a full-time barista gets by in Vancouver

Short answer: coupons, lots of coupons

April 28, 2016

By Jessica Barret / Photo: Ian Azariah

Name: Michelle Hanley
Age: 22
Gross salary: $25,900

Born-and-raised Vancouverite Michelle Hanley has been a full-time barista at JJ Bean on Commercial Drive for a year and a half. She is also the sardonic wit behind the satirical Twitter account for Kingsgate Mall and writes Vanpooper, an unpaid monthly column for BeatRoute Magazine in which she reviews public toilets. A self-described “borderline coupon lady,” Hanley relies on her uncanny ability to sniff out deals and find scores in the discount bins to make that coffee shop income stretch.

The Monthly Bill

Income after taxes: $1,950

Rent …… $600
(Sharing a two-bedroom basement suite in Mount Pleasant)

Heat …… $58

Phone Plan …… $48
(With Wind Mobile)

Internet …… $15
(Shared with housemates)

Bank Fee …… $15

Donation to WSPA …… $18
(“I can’t say no to those people with clipboards”)

Groupons …… $29
(For Castle Fun Park and Inkberry Frozen Yogurt)

Scratch & Win Tickets …… $25

Gas for friend’s van …… $95
(“He drives me everywhere. We’re like platonic life partners”)

Two Americanos and two vegan Doughnuts from Cartems …… $11
(“I feel like my life entire life is a struggle between my hatred of gentrification and my love of artisan doughnuts”)

Clothes …… $73
(Silk Hawaiian shirt from Value Village, jeans from Old Navy, and shoes from Payless)

Yard Expansion for Neko Atsume …… $1 
(“It’s a game on my phone. The concept is you have a yard and you try and fill it with toys for cats. Would recommend”)

Ramen Packs …… $3 

Steam buns form T&T Supermarket …… $9 
(“I don’t really buy groceries”)

Bottle of Proseco …… $12 

Beer …… $150  

Eating out: McDonald’s, Bon’s Off Broadway, What’s Up? Hot Dog!, Hon’s Wun-Tun House, Bandidas Taqueria, Budgies Burritos …… $233 
(“I spend all my money on burritos”)

Cabs …… $50

Christmas Presents …… $180 

Mac Lipstick …… $20 

Make up and shampoo from Shoppers Drug Mart …… $40 

Movie ticket for The Night Before …… $9 
(With a $2 coupon)

Cover for live music …… $50 

12 trips on the SkyTrain …… $33 

Two rides on Maxzone motion simulator ride at Metrotown …… $13 

Spotify subscription …… $11 

Total Spent: $1,801

The Remainder: $149
(“I do put money in my savings account sometimes. I’m trying to one day save up enough money for a bed frame so I don’t have to sleep on a mattress on the floor.”)

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