Cost of living in Canada

Canada is a country where you can live according to your means. Life can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be.

I will talk about the 3 biggest chunks of your monthly spend: grocery bills, transit costs and housing expenses.

Grocery bills

The grocery bill is similar to most urban centers in developed countries. The biggest difference is that the quality and variety of the produce is unreal in Canada. You can obtain fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year as they are flown in from all over the world.  Here are some average supermarket prices for you in Canadian dollars. You can do the conversion according to your local currency.

(Currently 1.33 CAD= 1 USD)

milk costs $4.29 for 3 L ( 2% Nelson milk sold in 1 big bag which contains 3 smaller bags of 1.33 L each)

Sliced Bread costs about $2.25 a loaf

Stewing Beef costs about $14-$18 a kilo

Potatoes cost about $3 for 10 kilos

Consumer Price Inflation is a standard 2% year on year.

Staustics Canada data available here Consumer Price Index, December 2018

As you can see grocery prices are quite reasonable.

The other 2 main components of the monthly expenses are traveling and rent/ mortgage.

Traveling expenses

A transit pass costs about $150 per month for unlimited travel on the local bus or train service. This cost can increase if someone needs to travel across 2 cities to get to work, for instance if you live in Brampton, Ontario and need to get to Toronto, currently you would need to spend about $220 a month including transfers. Still reasonable, however this is cheap compared to driving a car to work. Ontario is one of the most expensive provinces to buy Auto insurance, for various reasons. A new Canadian would pay about $350 per month with no experience, another $250 for car payments and $200 on gas. Add another $200 for maintenance and services, seasonal tire changes and you are looking at $1000 per month. Now if you want to save insurance costs there are several ways, including getting a quote from online calculators. Stick to direct insurers like Desjardins Auto Insurance, Car Insurance Quote | Desjardins Insurance

Housing and Accommodation

The third big chunk is housing. Its not cheap and you pay for what you get.

Let me share a personal example from Mississauga, Ontario ( the 6th largest city in Canada)

We lived in a 3 bedroom apartment for $1500 a month a few years ago and there were noisy neighbors with untidy habits but it was right next to transit and was reasonably cheap. We then purchased a freehold town-home now and pay close to double for the mortgage ie, $3000 a month for all the myriad expenses that come with the pleasure of owning a home: Mortgage, water, gas, hydro and municipal taxes. To compensate for the high costs, however there is a backyard with a barbecue and a fence where we can also do a little gardening.  We officially own a piece of Canada so it is all good.

The further you move from the city center the less you pay, like any other city in the world. Only in Canada 80% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. The further you move away, the cheaper it gets. So pick your sweet spot. There are plenty of choices.

Miscellaneous costs

High Speed Internet including around 350 GB (per month) : $65-70

Cell phone package per month ( including 5-10 GB Data): $60-$80 per month

Litre of Gas: $1.20

Restaurant meal at a family restaurant ( mid range)- $15-$17 per person ( kids under 12 usually pay 1/2 price )

Men’s haircuts: $25 and women’s haircuts/ Styling: $65-150