A guide to the cost of living in Canada – 2022

Learn more about the cost of housing, food, and transportation in Canada and see how far your paycheck can go.

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The cost of living in Canada can vary by city and even neighborhood. What might be affordable in one place may not be in another. In addition to housing, there are other expenses that you will likely incur as you settle into a new city, such as utilities, groceries, and transportation – to name a few. How much money you need to live in any given city will depend on your personal preferences regarding home size, amenities, and commuting costs. Our guide will help you get acquainted with the cost of living index in Canada so that you know what to expect when moving there.

What is the Cost of Living?

Simply put, the cost of living is the amount of money it takes to get by. For example, let’s say you earn $50,000 per year. Your cost of living might be $35,000. This means that any money you earn above $35,000 is saved or goes towards increasing your lifestyle (such as paying off debt). The cost of living is dependent on both your lifestyle and the prices of goods and services in the area where you live. When moving to Canada, you will need to consider the cost of living there and how it differs from the cost of living in your current location. It is important to know what these costs are so that you can plan accordingly.


Housing Costs in Canada

Housing is often a major expense for people living in Canada. It is important to understand how this expense is calculated and why it is so high. To calculate the cost of housing, analysts use the price-to-earnings ratio. Put simply, they look at the average price of a house in the area and divide it by the average annual salary in the same area. The resulting number represents how many years of salary it would take to purchase a house in that area. For example, if the average house price in British Columbia is $1 million and the average annual salary is $77,000, it would take 11.5 years of salary to purchase a house in that area. While this can be a useful metric for some types of financial planning, it can also be misleading and even create false impressions. For example, let’s say that you currently live in a small town in Alberta and you earn $50,000 per year. You’ve been thinking about moving to Vancouver and are trying to get a sense of what the housing costs are there. You run a search and find that the average house price in Vancouver is $1 million. This means that on average, it would take 11 years of salary to purchase a house in that area. However, in reality, you may not be able to afford a $1 million house in Vancouver as the price-to-earnings ratio doesn’t take into account your individual circumstances and living costs.


Food Costs in Canada

Food costs in Canada are high. Experts estimate that the average Canadian spends about 10% of their income on food. This places food right in the middle of the Canadian cost of living index. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, this is just the average. This means that while some people spend 10% of their income on food, others spend more. Another thing to keep in mind is that this percentage is based on the average cost of groceries in Canada. If you are buying high-end grocery items, then you may be spending more than 10% of your income on food. Whereas, if you are budget-conscious and buying cheaper items, then you may end up spending less than 10% on food.


Transportation Costs in Canada

Transportation costs in Canada are low compared to some other categories. This is because public transportation is readily available in many areas, and gasoline is less expensive in Canada than in many other countries. Another factor that contributes to the low transportation costs is car insurance, which is less expensive than in many other countries. Based on these factors, experts estimate that the average Canadian spends only 4% of their income on transportation. This places transportation towards the bottom of the cost of living index. Keep in mind that these percentages are based on the average cost of transportation in Canada. If you own a car and drive a lot, then you may be spending more than 4% of your income on transportation. However, if you rely on public transportation, then you may be spending less than 4% of your income on transportation.


Other Living Expenses in Canada

Other living expenses in Canada may include utilities, groceries, childcare, and education. What you spend on these items will depend on your personal preferences. However, most people spend more on these items than they do on transportation. The average Canadian spends approximately 11% of their income on other living expenses. This puts the category towards the top of the cost of living index. Some of the biggest expenses in this category are groceries and utility bills, given the high electricity prices and cold weather conditions. Healthcare in Canada is provided by the government, so it is free at the point of service. However, it costs around $2 billion each year to administer the healthcare system. Those expenses are passed on to taxpayers.


The Bottom Line

When determining how much money you will need to live in Canada, one of the key factors is your salary. The higher your salary, the more you will be able to spend and still save money. The above categories are meant to give you a general idea of where your money will go when you move to Canada. You will want to do more research in order to get an idea of how the cost of living in Canada compares to the cost of living in your current location. If you are moving to Canada from another country, then you will also want to consider the exchange rate between your current currency and the Canadian dollar. This will help you determine how much money you will need.


How to Support your loved ones from Canada

If you eventually decide to make the big move to Canada, you won’t regret it. Canada is a beautiful country with loads of opportunities. Even from miles away, you will still be able to support your loved ones. Whether you’re sending money to help with daily expenses or a special gift, the Dahabshiil App makes it easy to show them that you are always there for them.


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