For anybody who wants to move to Canada cost of living there is an important question. How much money do you need every month to be able to live in Canada? MapleDude.Ca will try to answer this question.

Is It Expensive To Live In Canada? / Image, drawing, picture / MapleDude.Ca
Original image by MapleDude.Ca

First of all we have to say that for different people comfortable life might mean very different things depending on the place they are coming from and their standard of living.

Canada is one of the world’s developed countries, income, costs, prices and expenses there are somewhat similar to western Europe, Australia and The United States, people who are coming from those places wouldn’t feel much of a difference.

What are basic necessary expenses for anyone?

  • Food;
  • Rent;
  • Clothes;
  • Miscellaneous (phone, internet, transportation, etc.);

In Canada, however, car is very important as in the U.S. Most of the Canadian cities and infrastructure designed in a way that without a car, especially during long and cold winter, live is quite hard.

Let’s start with food. It is actually quite hard to compare countries by cost of living because numbers are very different from city to city. For example according to numbeo.com (great website to compare prices) grocery prices in Toronto are 9.32% lower than in New City.

To be more accurate go to numbeo.com and compare your city with a Canadian city you want to move to.

These are examples of average food prices in Toronto:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $2.08;
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $2.45;
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $3.3;
  • Eggs (regular) (12): $2.75;
  • Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg): $13.48;

Many researches give a number around $200 per month per person as average food costs (source). It can be lower if you can find good deals and shop at Walmart, if you cook food by yourself and don’t go to restaurants.

You will struggle in Canada if you have a bad habit of smoking as one pack of cigarettes would cost you $11+. Smoking will add additional $150 – 300 dollars to your monthly expenses.

That is if you buy cigarettes in convenience stores. Today even marijuana (legal in Canada) might be cheaper than cigarettes.

When it comes to rent prices it is very different depending on the location. In Toronto basement for one month can cost you $500, one room in a house would be from $500 to $1000 (kijiji.ca) and if you want to rent one room apartment it starts with $1500. Rent is much cheaper in smaller cities and if a location far from downtown. If you have money to buy a house, you can check this article to see average house prices in different cities and provinces. Getting a mortgage is not going to be cheaper than renting for a new immigrant because of the lack of Canadian credit history.

To roughly round it up let’s say that rent would be $750 per month.

As i said, it can be a bit lower, but it also can be much higher.

Clothes costs are hard to calculate. If you shop at H&M and such places it is not going to be much, $1200 per year should be more than enough ($100 per month), although many people would live comfortable with $600 annual spending ($50 per month).

Minimum phone bill would be $35 per month, internet cost is similar, but it is often included in the rent.

Transportation in Toronto would cost something like $150 per month (A regular adult Metropass).

To sum this up our minimum cost of living in Canada (Toronto) would be from $1185, that is if you don’t smoke. If you find a cheap place to rent, total monthly expenses might go down by $250. Maybe you can save on food too, then total number would be $100 less. If you are lucky to have workplace at walking distance, subtract another $150 from total expenses. So the perfect case would be around $900 per month, but it is hardly possible to go much lower than that in big cities in Ontario.

With $11+/hours minimum wage ($14 in Ontario) and 40 hours per week you can make $2240 before taxes.

Everything falls apart if we consider car expenses and/or girlfriend expenses. Median monthly cost to insure in Ontario is around $125 (but in places like Mississauga it can be $300+), plus gas, plus a lot of things for the car.

All of this is, of course, very rough numbers, MapleDude.Ca estimates. For a single person you can live on $1k quite easily if you are willing to look for good deals, sales and if you are ok with walking. Numbers can be much lower for other Canadian cities, Toronto is one the most expensive ones (but salaries are higher too). In smaller cities rent is much lower, as well as other expenses, but it is safe to say that it is close to impossible to live on less than $500 per month in Canada.

Some people would say that it is very hard to live on $1000 too, if you live an active live, sometimes visit restaurants, go to movies or clubs, this would add $150-500+ more every month.

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