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Almost Rich: an examination of the true cost of city living and why rich is never rich enough

Almost Rich
The Lewis-Koonings

The Lewis-Koonings
Household income: $200,000

Suzanne Lewis, a 41-year-old real estate agent at Keller Williams, and Thomas Koonings, the 45-year-old owner of the design-build company 4th Wall, bought their semi in Riverdale in 2007 for $419,000. Since then, they’ve had two kids: three-year-old Evie and 18-month-old Vaughan. At the end of the month, after all the bills are paid, they usually find they have nothing left. “We have a weakness for designer furniture,” says Suzanne. “In 2010, we spent $5,000 on a table and Eames chairs for our dining room.”


Monthly expenses | Mortgage payment for a three-bedroom house: $2,500. Utilities: $500. Gas for their Jeep Commander and Ford F-150 truck: $440. (“The Jeep was a mistake. We shouldn’t have bought it; we could have used the extra money for travel.”) Street parking and two parking permits: $200. Home and car insurance: $300. Cleaning lady: $160. Groceries: $1,000. (“We like Whole Foods and try to eat organic as much as we can. We love the new Leslieville store Hooked for fish. For everything else, Loblaws.”) Baby supplies and toiletries at drugstores: $75. Wine: $400–$500. (“We try to get the better $11 bottles, but they go fast.”) Eating out: $400. Home phone, cable, Internet and two cellphones: $280. Dry cleaning: $50. Haircuts, nails and waxing: $170. Gifts: $200. (“You have kids, you spend money on toys for other kids. That’s how it goes.”) Daycare for both kids: $2,500.

Annual expenses | Property tax: $3,800. Upgrades and maintenance on their house: $5,000. Clothes: $3,000. (“When you have young kids you really cut back on stuff for yourself.”) RRSPs and investments: $0. (“Ha! We live month to month. When we have money left over, we go out.”) Savings accounts for the kids: $1,500. (“We put money in on birthdays and special occasions.”) Hockey league fees for Thomas: $500. Gym classes for Suzanne: $900. Swimming and music lessons for the kids: $900.

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