Lifestyle

This is how much it costs to live as a young person in Edmonton in 2017

By: Janine Rogan on July 5, 2017

Edmonton is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.

And what’s not to love? The city is home to great jobs — the average family income clocks in at more than six-figures ($101,470) — and an abundance of nearby wilderness. Also, you might be surprised to learn there’s a burgeoning food scene.

Housing is also comparatively cheap, especially when compared to Canada’s other big cities — the average home price is $385,057. Part of that is due to the oil price crash, which has hurt the city’s economy and kept housing prices relatively stable.

But with the large influx of people in the past decade, living in the city today is a lot more expensive than it once was. For anyone thinking about making the move to Edmonton, we decided to take a look at just how much it costs to live in Alberta’s capital city.

Housing - $931/month

Buying a home in Edmonton might be cheap, but it’s not for everyone. If you’ve just recently moved to the city or are looking to be a lifelong renter, here’s what it’ll cost you.

One-bedroom condo: $1,151/month

One-bedroom apartment: $941/month

Two-bedroom, shared with a roommate: $1,400, or $700 each

Average housing costs: $931

(This data has been pulled from RentBoard.ca.)

Phone and Internet - $165/month

The three big providers in Edmonton are Telus, Bell, and Rogers. These days, almost everyone has a smartphone — and that requires data. We found talk, text, and data packages starting at about $75/month in Edmonton, going all the way up to $200. With most people being able to get by on a few GBs of data, $90 a month is a good estimate of a plan that will likely cover your needs.

Shaw and Telus are Alberta’s internet providers, and there really aren't that many plans to choose from. For an average of $75/month, you should be able to get relatively fast internet.

Internet: $90

Phone: $75

Transportation - $141.25/month

Assuming you choose not to own a car in Edmonton and want to utilize public transit, you’re looking at an LRT/Bus pass $94.25 per month.

Of course, you’re probably going to have to occasionally complement public transit with a cab ride every now and then.  Using taxi fare finder, we found that taking four cab rides in a month, at an average of five kilometres each, will set you back $46.  

Monthly transit pass: $94.25

Cabs/Ubers: $46

Groceries - $237.60/month

Data from Statistics Canada shows the average household of 2.5 people in Alberta spends an average of $7,112 per year on groceries, which is $594 a month or $237.60 per person. This doesn’t include alcohol or any dining out, just trips to the grocery store.

Entertainment - $350

Dining out: $250

There are a lot of great little local places to eat in Edmonton (YEG), and Edmontonians spending habits reflect it. The average family spends $3,058 per year dining out which is $254 per month. If you divide this by two and a half people you’ll get $101.60, but a young person in Edmonton is probably spending closer to $150 a month on dining out.  

For good measure we’ve added in $100 for alcoholic beverages. Between that $12 glass of wine at dinner and the $8 beer at the pub, you can burn through $100 pretty darn quickly.

Miscellaneous spending: $100

Random expenses always come up and they tend to be higher than we plan. We’ve allocated $100 as a buffer for all those random costs that come up during the month that you just weren’t expecting.

Health and Fitness - $101/month

Nourishing your body with good food and exercise is important. Whether you’re looking for a gym membership or a monthly class pass, there are a lot of options available in YEG to stay fit. Gym memberships can go for as low as $12 per week, which averages out to $52 a month and unlimited Fitset passes (they give you access to many different studios) will run you around $150 a month. We took an average and came out to $101.

Insurance - $28/month

If you’re renting, many landlords require you get renter’s insurance as well. We calculated, using our insurance quoter, that on average, you’ll be paying about $28 a month to be properly covered.

Grand total: $26,008 per year (before tax), or $2,167.33 a month

Housing - $931/month

Phone and Internet - $165/month

Transportation - $141.25/month

Groceries - $237.60/month

Entertainment - $350/month

Health and Fitness - $101/month

Insurance - $28/month

The above expenses come out to $1,953.85 a month. But, using the EY personal tax calculator, we found out you have to make at least $2,167.33 a month, before taxes, to be able to afford the basic lifestyle we outlined.

But cost of living goes beyond just shelter, food and entertainment. Our calculations don’t include any savings or debt repayment that should be included in your budget. A good rule of thumb is to save 20% of your income, and put 10% towards debt repayment. That would mean all your other expenses should equal 70% of your income.

If you add debt repayments (student loans, credit cards, car loans, etc.), plus monthly savings, then you’re looking at having to make significantly more money. Let’s take a look.

Living Expenses - $1,925

Savings - $550

Debt Repayment - $275

Once debt and savings are tallied, you’ have to make at least $3,265 a month to live comfortably in Alberta’s capital city. That comes out to $39,180 a year.

So, what do you think? Disagree with our numbers? Comment on Facebook and let us know.

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