Living in metropolitan cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, etc. as a newcomer isn’t as easy since these cities are generally expensive. We understand how you feel.
However, you don’t need to give up on your dreams of making it in the big city. There is a lot of information out there which isn’t entirely true, the cost of living has also been exaggerated in many cases. Some rules can go a long way in making your life very much affordable.
Try these practical tips to save money and give yourself some leeway in your budget.
1. Find a suitable flatmate
If you are on a budget, the first thing you should consider is moving into a place already set up. This will save you a lot of expenses in the long run. If you rent out a place just for yourself, you may end up burning so much cash in living expenses because such cities like Vancouver, Toronto, can get pricy.
Especially since you are new in the country, it really makes sense to live with someone since you’ll learn more about native Canadians and the culture. There are many options when it comes to sharing space with people. You can rent a room in a highrise or condominium. Another alternative is to rent a room in a basement. While this may not be your first thought, it’s a good starting point if you are single.
You’ll need to sign a contract with your flatmate who sometimes is the landlord or the name on the lease. The advantage of this is that some of these houses already come furnished so you will not have to make capital expenses on furniture, kitchen appliances, etc.
You should, however, be sure it’s someone you’re compatible with, so ask a lot of questions to get to know them before you agree to the contract.
2. Rent other stuff or buy second hand
Buying a brand new TV or furniture may not be a good financial decision if you are on a tight budget as a newcomer especially with the depreciating cost of goods and new models coming every month.
You can rent a bike for your commute, take the subway. For example, in Vancouver, you can share a bike, check out this link for more info.
3. Use public transit for commute
If you live in a city with a traffic problem, you’d understand the frustration. For example, Toronto can get pretty busy. It makes absolute sense to use the subway (train), the bus, or maybe call an Uber once in a while if you must be in a car!
Using public transport is always recommended. Public transport is great for the most part of it. If your job requires traveling, make sure you go for monthly passes instead of buying regular tickets because the pricing is cheaper when you pay monthly.
In Toronto, the transit is Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Montreal’s city’s transit system is called la Société de transport de Montreal (STM), and in Vancouver, TransLink is Metro Vancouver’s transportation network. Depending on the city you choose to settle in, do a quick search on Google for: ‘Public Transit [Name of City]‘.
Also, check out PRESTO which works across local transit services in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and Ottawa, making paying for your trip simple, convenient, and secure.
Carpooling is a great option too, so make some friends at work, save the earth and your pocket!
4. Cook at home
Learning to cook is a life skill and definitely helps cut costs. Everyday spending on coffee or eating out can quickly rack up cash if you think of it deeply.
An average food lover spends more on food than rent or maybe commute. If you can’t compromise on quality food, then invest some time in meal planning and prepping as this will save you expenses in the long term. Asides that, you’ll be eating healthy.
We have a One Week Meal Plan you can download for free.
5. Consider living in the suburbs
Working in the city is one thing and commuting to work from outside the city is an entirely different conversation. You don’t have to live in the heart of the city as long as you are gaining your fair share of career exposure, friendship, and the culture.
For example, if you work in Toronto, you can live in outside neighborhoods that are affordable. Examples are commuting from North York, Scarborough, Mississauga, Etobicoke, etc. The same idea applies to another city like Vancouver or Montreal. Look out for neighborhood areas outside o the major city to live and commute to work from.
What you need to do is know where you’ll be working and find areas outside of the major city good enough for a commute. Consider your commute time and how close enough the subway is or the general bus system or PRESTO. This is really how many people deal with this without having to burn off their cash. We understand that commute time is really important, so keep that in mind.
6. Don’t be too cheap that you forget the most important thing
Of course, cost-cutting is the aim of this post, however, health is wealth. One of our readers shared that for a while they were only purchasing cheap dairy and poor quality vegetables from one of the chains and later started to fall seriously ill as she was lacking the necessary vitamins.
While Canada is a great country to live in, there has been a number of reports on the quality of food items and how it is grown due to the weather. It’s advisable to invest in one or two organic products in a week to really have your body absorb the vital nutrients. It will help save you cost and time even though there’s free health care in Canada.
Don’t worry, our reader is healthy and safe now thankfully. Quick question for you: if you’re thinking of Vancouver, where would you be shopping your groceries from?
These are 6 top tips that will certainly help you live a happy life in the city. These have been tested and we know it works! Did you enjoy this article? Feel free to let us know in the comment section or send us a quick note via email: [email protected]
Have additional questions? Let us know and we’ll answer right away or leave us a note in the chatbox at the bottom right-hand corner. All the best with life in Canada!