Saving money in Toronto is pretty difficult for many people. There’s no way around it – living in Toronto is expensive.
According to Numbeo, the average cost of living for a family of four in Toronto is over $4,000 and that’s without rent! Add in the Toronto rent factor, and you’re looking at at least another $1914 – and that’s only for a single bedroom unit.
How to Save Money in Toronto
More bedrooms equate to higher costs. So unless you make boatloads of money, living in Toronto requires one to be good at saving money. Here are 15 ways to save in Toronto.
1. Track Your Spendings
“I don’t even know where all my money went” is a common saying among all people. And the truth is, they probably don’t. A coffee here, a snack there – where are you spending all of your money? If you don’t know, it’s time to start tracking your spending.
Write down everything you buy for a month and place things into categories. Snacks into one category. Eating out into another. Gas into another. And so on. At the end of the month, you’ll be surprised at how much you spend on things you don’t actually need.
But only by realizing and understanding where your money is going can you start to change your spending habits. So tracking your spending is a great place to start when it comes to saving.
2. Change your Spending Habits
Once you’ve realized where your money is going, now it’s time to start changing your habits. Did you spend way too much money on coffee last month? Instead of buying three coffees a day at Tim Hortons, why not start making coffee at home?
Did you spend a lot of money on dining out? Time to start dining in! Cigarettes costing you a fortune? Perhaps it’s time to break a bad habit!
As mentioned before, it’s only once you realize your bad spending habits that you can start to change them – so now it’s time to make the change! Then, put all of the extra money that you saved into a savings account.
3. Start Budgeting
People who are good at managing and saving money all have one thing in common – they know how to budget. Yes, budgeting takes a little bit of spare time, but it’s well worth making the extra hour in the long run.
Sit down, take a look at your finances, and start creating a budget for yourself. What bills do you have to pay? How much do you need to set aside for necessities like food and gas? How much will you allow yourself for entertainment? How much do you hope to save each month?
Set a budget and then stick to it. You’ll be shocked at how much it helps you save.
4. Take the Bus
Owning a car is expensive, but in Toronto, where traffic is so heavy, idling for hours on end can cost you even more in the way of gas. Not only that, but most apartment buildings in Toronto charge you for a parking spot – which can cost upwards of $200-$300 per month.
Oh – and don’t forget street parking. Every time you park somewhere in Toronto, you’re looking at an additional $20-$30 or more.
If you can opt to go without a vehicle, you can save money on payments, insurance, parking, and gas.
5. Ride a Bike
Even better than taking a bus? Ride a bike. Though it’s not always possible, biking is one of the best modes of transportation in Toronto. Firstly, it’s free.
After your initial bike purchase, there’s no need for gas or tickets. You can also park your bike anywhere for free, so you don’t have to worry about daily or monthly parking fees. You also get to save on expensive Toronto car insurance prices.
If you don’t have your own bike, you can also rent bikes in Toronto. Bikes are placed at stations throughout Toronto, where you can simply rent the bike for as long as you need and then take it back to a bike station when you are finished.
It does cost money, but it’s still a lot cheaper than a car or bus.
6. Stay home
One of the biggest draws of Toronto is the entertainment. When you live here, there are endless hours of things to see and do.
Restaurants, bars, clubs, aquariums, concerts, events – the list goes on and on. But entertainment can cost a lot of money.
It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but try not to go crazy. There are many things that you can do at home that are free and can save you money.
7. Dry your laundry by hand
Yep. Do it the old-fashioned way. Many apartment buildings in Toronto have laundry machines – and you’ll need them to wash your laundry.
But if you can dry your laundry at home, you can save yourself some money each time. Hang your laundry over your balcony or invest in a simple laundry drying rack.
Then, pocket the change that you save from using the dryer.
8. Consider alternative ways to work out
We’re not going to tell you to quit your gym membership because maintaining health and fitness is essential. And some people require a gym membership to keep up their motivation.
Perhaps they enjoy the equipment that the gym offers, or perhaps they enjoy the social aspect of workout classes. But if your only concern is getting in a good workout, there may be other, more affordable options.
The average gym membership in Toronto costs around $55 per month. If you are impartial to the way you achieve your workout, there are other options. Go for a hike or a run instead.
Workout at home. Or even try your apartment building gym. Many apartment buildings in Toronto have in-house gyms. Yes, they are generally smaller than paid membership gyms, but they offer much of the same equipment and can give you a good workout just the same for free.
9. Enjoy Toronto’s Freebies
There’s tons of stuff that you can do in and around Toronto, Ontario, entirely for free.
Enjoy some of Toronto’s most beautiful parks, take a drive up to Niagara Falls, bask in the sun on one of Toronto’s mini beaches – there are lots of ways to entertain yourself without spending money.
10. Drive an Uber
In Toronto, Uber has become more popular than taxis. Not only are they great for riders, but Ubers are an excellent way for drivers to make an extra income.
Uber works like a taxi cab. Riders order a vehicle through an app, and the driver picks them up and drops them off at their desired location. A portion of the driver’s earnings go to Uber, and the rest goes straight into their bank account.
And the best thing about being an Uber driver is that you are entirely in control of your own work hours. Work when you want to, don’t work when you don’t want to!
11. Make Money with Your Money
Once you start saving, you can use the money you’ve saved to make more money. Consider switching to a high-interest savings account instead of leaving your money in a low to no interest chequing account.
You can also choose to invest your money into things like stocks, bonds, or ETFs. With that being said, if you are new to the world of investing, you may want to speak to a financial advisor before doing so to learn the ins and outs of the investment world.
A good financial advisor will be able to show you the ropes and teach you how you can make your money work for you.
12. Take advantage of deals
Entertainment in Toronto can be expensive, but there are lots of deals out there too. Take advantage of things like discounted movie nights, coupon savings, discounted food days, and so forth.
It might require some research on your behalf to learn the best days to get the best deals, but if you look hard enough, taking advantage of deals can save you money in the long run.
13. Shop at the Bulk Barn
When it comes to grocery shopping, there are lots of places to go. But when you need little things like spices, nuts, seeds, or flour, the bulk barn is the best place to save money.
Things like spices can cost you upwards of $6-7 per spice in a grocery store. Most of what you are paying for is the packaging.
You can head to the bulk barn and buy the same spice for less than a dollar. The only difference is it will be in a bag instead of a glass jar.
Sure, you might get a smaller portion, but most of us don’t use an entire bag of flour before it goes bad anyway. At the Bulk Barn, you pay for what you need and nothing more.
14. Get a Roommate
One of the most significant expenses of living in Toronto is the cost of a home or apartment. If you are single and living in Toronto on your own, you can cut your costs in half by getting a roommate. If you’re an international student, you can cut down significantly on your cost of living by having a roommate.
You may consider even getting two or three roommates if you own a house, renting it out by the room. The more roommates you are willing to take in, the more money you can save.
15. AirBnB your place
If you do own a nice apartment or home in Toronto and are going out of town, you could consider making some extra money by renting your place out as a Bed and Breakfast.
The average Bed and Breakfast in Toronto goes anywhere from $200-$500 per night depending on its size, cleanliness, and location. You can set your own rates for your apartment or home and rent it out only when you want to.
Many people use Bed and Breakfasts as a tool for helping them save some extra money, and some even pay their entire rent this way.
In conclusion, living in Toronto is expensive. This is particularly true if you want to live anywhere downtown. With that being said, there are lots of ways that you can enjoy Toronto while still cutting costs and saving money.
Try some of the money-saving tips above, and enjoy all of the free and fun entertainment Toronto has to offer.