Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Here we are at part three of my ongoing series, Why Living in Niagara beats Living in Toronto. We’ve talked lifestyle, we’ve talked home value, but what about overall cost of living? After all, there’s more to affordability than the cost of your home. And let me tell you, if you thought the difference in home prices was something to get excited about, keep reading — living in Niagara is just going to make even more sense after this.
Cost of Living in Niagara vs. Cost of Living in Toronto
When you look at other regions in Ontario, Niagara has a relatively low cost of living in comparison. So, we’re talking a much better quality of life on a more modest income here than you would get in Toronto.
Let’s look at a few key expenses that get you more bang for your buck in Niagara:
Generally speaking, statistics show that annual food expenses in Toronto average out to around $9,121. In comparison, food prices in Niagara are significantly less expensive at around $7,118. Imagine what you could do with an extra $2,000 a year?
To break this down even further, let’s get specific. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in St. Catharines averages out to around $60, while in Toronto, you’re looking at at least $75 for a comparable meal. Sure, $15 doesn’t seem like that much, but we are a society of people who enjoy dining out. If you tend to go out once a week, which isn’t too crazy nowadays, you’re looking at saving $720 a year!
If you like shopping, you probably go often and could afford to save some cash here and there. And if you don’t like it, lower prices make it a little more enjoyable, right? Well consider this: clothing costs in Niagara hover around $2,845 per year while the same clothing costs in Toronto average out to about $4,365 annually. Whether you’re a shopaholic or not, knowing you are saving $1500 a year just by shopping in your own community makes Niagara a pretty appealing place to live, doesn’t it?
Recreation and Entertainment Costs
If you know me, you know I truly believe living the lifestyle that makes you happiest is the most important thing about finding the right home for you and your family. And what better way to enjoy life than by enjoying local entertainment options and recreation activities? Well, here in Niagara, you know you can afford to do what you want, with average entertainment and recreation spending costing about $5,472 a year. Toronto, on the other hand will cost you more than $1,000 more a year, at $6,881.
For those of you who like to be active all year round, you’ll see the big difference in the cost of gym memberships. In St. Catharines, gym membership costs average out to about $34.50 a month while in Toronto, you can expect to pay about 35% more: $53.50.
Finally, a look at the cost of transportation in Niagara versus Toronto. I know that Niagara has a lot of drivers, so first, gas prices. This week, you can fill your tank in St. Catharines for as low as $1.05/litre. If you’re in Toronto and need gas this week, be ready to pay upwards of $1.13/litre instead.
Would you rather take public transit? A monthly transit pass in St. Catharines is currently $92 a month for adults. In Toronto, you’ll have to make sure you have an extra $50 a month set aside, because transit in the city costs $141.50 a month.
Being a family man, I of course had to consider the cost of raising a family in the GTA compared to living in Niagara. So, I had a look at the cost of childcare per year for a family with one toddler in daycare. The numbers are staggering.
The mid-range price for a toddler to attend a full-time licensed daycare facility is about $1000 per month, which comes out to $12,000 per year. Now let’s look at Toronto. Monthly, Toronto residents are paying, on average, $1,676 per month – that’s $20,112 a year!
Overall cost of living
This is just a snapshot of some of the common costs of living that you’ll likely want to take into account if you’re thinking of relocating to or from the big city. But overall including other costs I didn’t list here, we’re looking at quite a difference. Cost of living in Toronto averages at approximately $94,967 while Niagara’s cost of living is about $71,876.
What would you do with an extra $23,091 a year?
*FP Markets-Canadian Demographics, 2012