This is How Much Money You Need to Make to Afford Living in Toronto
We’ve all heard it a million times but I’ll say it again in case you haven’t gotten the message yet: Toronto is expensive! Most 20-30 somethings residing in Toronto live paycheque to paycheque just to be able to enjoy some of the benefits this fine city has to offer.
Between seeing your favourite sports teams, spending your time at some of the busiest shopping malls in Canada and taking part in the delicious food scene, Toronto has made you very broke. It has us wondering, how much money do you actually need to earn to live in Toronto? And more importantly, sustain a somewhat lavish city lifestyle.
According to Numbeo.com — a website that compares costs of living in global cities — if you want to live roommate-free anywhere in downtown Toronto, this is the minimum amount of money you’re going to have to spend to do it and maintain any sort of social life.
Housing and Utilities = $1,848.57
Home ownership is basically a pipe dream at this point for millennials – and no it’s not because we are spending all our money on avocado toast. However, Toronto’s rental market isn’t too promising either.
According to Numbeo, the average cost to rent a one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto is currently $1,659.45. But the rent is only one component. According to the site, the average cost of basic utilities is an additional $129.04. Add in internet for $60.08 per month and you’re looking at a minimum of $1,848.57 — just to keep a roof over your head.
Phone = $83.08
According to a 2015 report from Wall Communications Inc., Canadians pay some of the highest cellular service prices in the world. The report details that on average, an unlimited talk-and-text cellphone plan with two gigabytes of data costs $83.08 per month — and that’s just the minimum. That doesn’t include long distance charges, travelling out of the country or data overages.
Transportation = $226.25
The only thing more infuriating than getting from one place to another in Toronto is the cost associated with doing so. On the TTC, getting anywhere and back — regardless of distance travelled — will cost you $3.25 each way. In short, if you’re taking transit to and from work, it will cost $32.50 each week.
Aside from savvy cyclists and avid walkers, you’ll want to factor a Metropass into your budget at $146.25 each month. But don’t forget about cabs and Ubers. Thanks to 1:30 am subway closures and 2 am last calls, you’re sure to find yourself in the back of a car a handful of times each month. After a transit pass, that leaves you with $80 a month in cab fare — about $20 each week.
With considering all these factors, that gives you a total of $226.25 spent on transportation each month. Now don’t even get us started on owning a car…
Groceries = $425
The average amount Torontonians spend on groceries per week is $100, but there are other household items we sometimes forget to factor into grocery costs. Toilet paper, dish soap, garbage bags and so on is said to cost you an additional $25 each month for a grand total of $425.
Entertainment and Dining Out = $350
According to Numbeo, the average price of a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is $70, but unless your three courses is actually just tapas and sans alcohol, this number seems relatively low. So let’s bump it to $100. If you pick up the tab twice a month, that’s $200 easy right there.
And let’s not forget the cost of partying in the city. On average you can expect to pay $10 for a drink at a Toronto bar and upwards of $15 for a specialty cocktail. So, if you go out once a week max and have around two or three drinks each time, you’ll need to set aside approximately $100 to fund your party cause — and those are only the bare minimum figures.
Of course, this doesn’t include concerts, art shows, social events or even brunch.
Health and Fitness = $52.58
When you get to a certain point in your life, working out becomes more of a necessity rather than an option. For those of you who may have a gym in your condo or stick to doing cardio outdoors, congrats! You save some money in this category. But not everyone in the city does, and according to Numbeo, joining a proper gym will set you back a minimum of $53.99 each month for a membership.
Extras = $100
Even if you try to stick to the absolute minimum spending, unforeseen expenses usually pop up every now and again. From manicures to waxes, to wedding gifts for friends or even unexpected costs like a broken toilet or a cracked phone, extras will come up and will make a dent in your pocket.
So after it’s all added up, if you can’t afford the following, you might want to consider other Canadian cities to call home.
Total = $3,085.48
That means you have to make a minimum annual salary of $47,500 before taxes in order to bring home a monthly income of approximately $3,100 after taxes, CPP and EI. Now, based on your personal circumstances, you could be paying more or less than this. Again, this is just an estimated average.
However, that total doesn’t include shopping, debt repayment or savings. So if you’re a single, millennial looking to live in downtown Toronto, anything under $50K a year means you probably won’t be able to enjoy all the fun and nightlife Toronto has to offer if you do.
The sad truth about city life is that a minimum wage job just doesn’t cut it. And if you are surviving in Toronto on minimum wage, you most likely have a side hustle, do precarious work on the side or have a roommate to cut costs.
So good luck to all you hustlers out there, the struggle is — and probably always will be — all too real.
Do you agree with these numbers? Why or why not? Sound off in the comment section.
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Brooklyn is a Toronto-based journalist and if she isn’t writing, you can find her enjoying a nice glass of merlot. She is a lover of good books, Sunday brunches and running around the city with her girl gang. She’s your basic Blair Waldorf in a world of Jenny Humphrey’s. You can follow her on Twitter @BNeustaeter.