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How Much Does It Cost A Young Torontonian to Live in the City in 2018?

There are many reasons why the Toronto “census metropolitan area,” made up of the city itself and the Greater Toronto Area, remained the most popular destination for Canadian immigrants between 2011 and 2016, with 30% of all immigrants (356,930 people), making Toronto their home. According to stats from Statistics Canada, 46.1% of Toronto residents were born outside Canada.

Toronto is a multicultural city with a good public transit system, a low unemployment rate, a great social scene, impressive night life, and great galleries, restaurants, and recreational facilities.

However, although federal, provincial, and city officials are making efforts to make the Toronto more affordable, especially when it comes to housing, Toronto remains one of the most expensive cities in Canada. According to a study by LowestRates.ca, a rate comparison site, it costs a young person (one who doesn’t have dependents and who does not own property) an average of $2,350 a month for housing, groceries, transportation, phone/Internet, and entertainment. Below is a breakdown of these costs.

Housing

The average cost of housing in Toronto is $1,672.13 per month. This is category has gone up with the highest rate from last year, where the average cost was $1,334.75. This adds up to more than $20,000 a year. Although we are sensitized from early on that one should never spend more than 30% of their monthly gross income on housing, $20,000 a year tells you that most Torontonians are spending almost 50% of their income on rent.

According to statistics from RentBoard.ca, below are the prices for different types of housing.

  • 1 bedroom condo costs $1,919 a month
  • 2 bedroom condo (shared) costs $2,973/month ($1,486.50 each)
  • 1 bedroom apartment costs $1,683 a month
  • Studio apartment costs $1,600 a month

Transportation

The average cost of transportation for a young, single Torontonian on the public transit system is $176.25 per month. This is the same cost as last year after the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) announced it would not be hiking fares.

Note this calculation does not factor car ownership (TTC covers a wide area and is cheaper than car ownership which comes with parking, maintenance, gas, and insurance costs). The calculation does not cover commuting costs for those living in suburbs and who have to use another transit system like buses to Mississauga and Vaughan which are not run by TTC. Breakdown for cash/transit pass from Mississauga and Vaughan to take the TTC are:

  • Single adult fare (cash) costs $3.25
  • Single adult fare using tokens or Presto card costs $3.00
  • Monthly pass for students costs $116.75
  • Monthly pass for adults costs $146.25

Even with public transit, a young Torontonian will probably still need a cab (Uber and Lyft being the most popular). An Uber trip from downtown to midtown and back remains the same as last year at $30.

If you work 5 days each week and you use TTC twice daily, that would amount to $120 a month. However, this does not cover transit outside work hours to run errands, visit family, meet friends, and go to the gym, and so on. A monthly pass at $146.25 would make more sense.

Phone and Internet

Phone and Internet costs have gone down from last year to average $127.50 per month. Bell and Rogers (Telus does not have Internet plans in Toronto) have 25-30 Mbps Internet offers. With an average of 300 GB usage each moth, these offers cost $69.99 and $74.95 respectively. Tekksavvy and Primus, on the other hand, have similar plans that cost $45 and $50 respectively. This gives an average of $60 per month.

Phone costs for a plan with 300 local minutes, unlimited nationwide SMS, and 1 GB data costs between $70 and $75 dollars at Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Freedom has a similar offer for phone and SMS, but with 10GB data at $60, for an average of $67.50 per month.

Groceries

Groceries cost an average of $283.60 per month for a single Torontonian man aged between 19 and 30 years. This is according to the “Nutritious Food Basket” food cost calculator on the City of Toronto site. The average groceries cost for a single Torontonian woman of the same age is $247.33 according to the calculator, for an average of $283.60.

Rental Insurance

Many Toronto landlords require renters to have rental insurance. An insurance quoter puts the average rental insurance cost at $52 per month for a West End apartment.

Health & Fitness

Health and fitness costs vary from one person to the other in terms of subscription, venue, and frequency. Many young Torontonians are taking up costly health and fitness options. However, the cost of a traditional gym is an average of $75 a month, with the likes of YMCA and GoodLife costing as low as $60 a month.

Entertainment

Entertainment costs, like health and fitness costs, also vary greatly from one person to the other. For the average young Torontonian with a Netflix subscription and who goes out regularly, the average entertainment cost is $354 per month. Below is a breakdown of common entertainment costs:

  • Netflix subscription costs $10.99 per month
  • Apple Music/Spotify subscription costs $9.99 per month
  • Buying lunch 1 time each week ($10 each time) costs $40 per month
  • Getting takeout for dinner 2 times a month ($20 each time) costs $40 per month
  • Going out for dinner 1 time a month costs $50 per month
  • Buying coffee 2 times a week ($3 each time) costs $24 per month
  • Going out for drinks with friends 2 times a month ($25 each time) costs $50 per month
  • Having drinks at home or at a friend’s house once a week costs $50 per month
  • Movies, shows, dates, events cost an average of $70 per month

The average of $2,740.48 is nearly $400 more than last year’s average. You will need at least $40,583 gross (or $32,885 net) to make ends meet in the city. If you are to save the recommended 20% of your income for retirement or a home, you will need to make at least $50,134 gross (or $39,462 net).

Note that the total cost does not cover such things as student loans which many young Torontonians are struggling with, debt repayment, toiletries, savings, clothing, pet costs, insurance premiums, and several other miscellaneous costs that we cannot escape.

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