Living in the city

By Samantha TiburzioMan Sitting on Couch

Tell us if this dream sounds familiar: You move into your brand new one bedroom apartment located in the heart of downtown Toronto, where you entertain friends, chill out and use as a home base to explore every facet of living in the city. That includes checking out new restaurants, spending way more than you should on cocktails that list “smoke” as an ingredient and hoarding all your spare change for the laundromat.

But soon you’ll notice your funds quickly disappearing, unless maybe you go another route: taking your dream apartment a bit further north to Yonge and Eglinton, to a just-as-nice two-bedroom flat you share with your best friend for less than half the price.

You could save as much as $1,600 a month. Really. What would you do with that kind of money?

Let’s run the numbers.

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Splurging in the city vs. living thrifty uptown

THE RENT

In the city Some cities cost less than others, and Toronto is definitely one of the most expensive in Canada. Consider this the low end of average for a one-bedroom apartment.
$1,725

Uptown Hop on the subway for 20 minutes and you can get a sunny two-bedroom for about the same price. Share with a friend and split the rent in half. 
$897

GETTING AROUND

In the city A Metropass will run you $134 a month. You’ll need a car for Ikea trips, but a carshare membership will run you as little as $7 a month and $9 an hour. 
$200 a month

Uptown Whether uptown or down, a half-decent bike will get you everywhere you need to go. Plus, all those hills are better than a gym membership 
Up to $400 a year

DINING & GROCERIES

In the city It’s so tempting to eat out when there are so many amazing options. You know you’re in trouble when the delivery guys know you by name.
$620 a month (eat out four to five times a week + groceries)

Uptown Cooking at home is a breeze with a small bit of planning. But yes, you probably will still find occasions to eat out.
$380 (groceries + dining out once a week)

ENTERTAINMENT

In the city It’s nothing to spend $100 on a night clubbing in Toronto, even on a low-roller salary. 
$600 a month

Uptown You’ve got a bike and city that’s brimming with free festivals to attend. You can still go out with friends but follow the drink specials.
$200 a month

TOTAL

Splurging in the city $3,145 a month
Living thrifty uptown $1,510

You could save $1,635!

That’s a lot of money right? And here’s the thing: Living in a city like Toronto, it’s really easy to watch your lifestyle creep into high-roller territory. If you could save $1,000 a month and put it into an RRSP savings account, you’d have more than a million dollars by the time you retire (4% annual return over 35 years, which is actually kind of conservative). Even if you didn’t, that money could be used to save up for a down payment on a house or to fund a fun vacation with your new roommate/best friend. The point is: Give your money a purpose and watch it grow.

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