If you’re in your 30s and have purchased or leased a home in the past five years, you know firsthand just how expensive Toronto has become.
Hell, even if you haven’t purchased or leased in the last five years, you know.
Not to add insult to injury, but a recent report just revealed that it now costs more to live in Toronto than it does in historically pricey cities like London and San Francisco. That said, there is some good news; namely that the city is full of dollars to make, with an abundance of career opportunities for those ambitious enough to take them.
Unlike your 20s – a time when more people are on the same playing field, in similar life stages and pay brackets – your 30s come with a bit of a mixed bag of personal situations and circumstances. Some people have already morphed into their parents, with a family and mortgage of their own, while others are living the bachelor/bachelorette dream and taking full advantage of their corporate accounts, the vibrant city, and the freedom to party like they may not be here tomorrow. Some have become self-made success stories, while others are barely scraping by.
With this in mind, we’ve crunched the numbers to reveal an estimate of the minimum amount you need to live an average lifestyle in your 30s (with a modest vacation fund). Keep in mind, these numbers reveal the amount you need to live with kids. If kids aren’t part of the equation, you’ll find your (much lower) figure here.
While having a roommate can be a strategic move financially, by the time your 30s roll around, most downtown professionals have come to value personal space. While home ownership – whether a condo or house – has traditionally been seen as a milestone to reach by your 30s, Toronto’s sky-high real estate prices, coupled with the fact that rent prices in recent years have made it difficult to save for a down payment, have made this somewhat of a pipe dream for some.
If you have kids, according to rentboard.ca, the average cost of a three-bedroom apartment is an average of $2,686 per month. Renting a three-bedroom house will increase this rate to $4,289 per month. This breaks down to an average rental cost of $3,487.50 per month for families trying to live in a property with 3-bedrooms. The average monthly cost to maintain a $1,184,123 home Leslieville (as example) after you’ve paid 20% down and all taxes and fees of the initial sale is $5,581 per month, a figure that includes your mortgage payment ($4,625.00), utilities ($250.00), property tax ($606.00), and insurance ($100).
You can’t forget about Internet ($66.98) and a Netflix Account ($13.99). Let’s be honest: You likely have an Amazon Prime or Disney Plus account as well ($7.99). These costs will add another $88.96 to your bill.
Total rental cost: $3,588
Total ownership cost: $5,670
Total housing cost of renting: $1794 (per person)
Total housing cost of owning: $2,834 (per person)
By the time you’re in your 30s, the newfound disposable income you’ve earned (no matter how small) means you may have some options in the transportation department (because the TTC isn’t always the better way). If you “rely” on public transport as part of the daily grind, however, it makes the most economic sense to purchase a 12-month Presto Pass for $134.10 per month, which offers unlimited access.
Once a family enters the mix, having a car becomes pretty much essential. According to ThinkInsure.ca, the average cost of car insurance in Toronto is about $172.58 per month. So, according to the Natural Resources Canada website, if you – for argument’s sake – owned a 2018 Toyota Camry, fuelling it will cost you on average of $1,794 per year, or $149.50 per month in gasoline. Of course, then there are those pesky car payments for most people. These can set you back $350.00 per month for a decent used car. Of this sets up to equal $311.00 when car payment costs are divided by two.
“If you want to buy a car, I would highly recommend you buy a secondhand car that’s maybe two or three years old because that’s the best value and they haven’t seen the wear and tear of older cars have,” said Toronto financial expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq. “Look at fuel efficiency, maintenance costs and be smart with your purchase rather than going with the car that looks good or just serves one of those things. It may be fuel-efficient, but an oil change can be three times the price.”
In addition to the car costs, let’s add on another $100 in personal transportation costs to account for the occasional ride share or TTC trip every month.
Total: $622 + $200
Total transportation cost: = $411 (per person)
Keeping with the trend of “most expensive,” Toronto has the highest daycare costs in Canada. According to the City of Toronto, the cost of daycare for infants is currently $96.20 per day. That’s $481 per week, and $2068.30 per month. As your kid gets older, the costs go down – but not by much. Toddlers (18 to 30 months) will set you back $89.95 per day; or $449.75 per week and $1,933.93 per month. Children 31 months to kindergarten age are $68.25 per day; or $341.25 per week and $1,467.38 per month.
So assuming you have two children and the average monthly cost of daycare when the three age categories is considered is $1823.20 per month, you will be dishing out $3,646.40 for the babysitting and socialization offered by daycare(!).
Total cost of daycare for two kids: $1,823 (per person)
By your thirties, you develop a whole new appreciation for cooking at home once one restaurant blends into another (and you want to save money for things you enjoy). According to the City of Toronto’s Nutritious Food Basket cost calculator, a male aged 31-50 should typically spend $307.14 per month on groceries, while a female of the same age should spend about $260.89 per month. This works out to an average of $284.02 of monthly grocery store bills for the average 30-something person living alone.
Once kids are added to the equation, you can pretty much expect your grocery bill to skyrocket. According to the Nutritious Food Basket, a family of four that includes two adults (31-50) and two children under 5 (based on figures for one male 2 to 3-years-old and one female 4 to 8-years-old) will spend $171.63 per week on food, a cost that adds up to $743.16 per month. Divided by two the total is $371.58 per month.
Total cost of groceries for family of four: $372 (per person)
Just as many grow to appreciate staying in and cooking in their 30s, dining out also takes on a new meaning when, unlike much of your 20s, you can actually afford a good meal in a decent restaurant (getting a reservation may be a different story). According to Numbeo.com, the average cost of a three-course meal at a moderately priced restaurant in Toronto is $40.00 per person. Add a few drinks on there (at a relatively modest $8 a pop), and you can expect to drop about $56.00 before tax and tip, and $74.68 with tax and an 18 % tip. If you dine out four times a month, this will add up to $298.72.
As hard as you may try, there are going to be days when you’re going to have to grab lunch (or dinner) on the go. Assuming each time this costs you $12.00 and this occurs five times a month, you’ll need to set aside $60 each month.
For simplicity purposes, we are going to assume that this figure is around the same for parents, as – while taking the whole family out to a family-friendly spot may dent the wallet – they are likely going out to wine and dine adult-style less than their childless, free-as-a-bird counterparts.
Total dining out cost: $179 (per person)
Just because you may have more responsibility than you did in your 20s (or maybe not), it doesn’t mean that the party stops once you reach your dirty thirties. In our “work hard, play hard culture,” it’s all about balance. No matter where you go in the city, it’s safe to say that the average cost of a drink is $10 in most Toronto spots. If you go out with “the guys,” or “ladies” three times a month and have three drinks each time – plus tip – you should set aside $105 per month to spend on getting a mild buzz at a Toronto establishment.
Let’s also assume that you buy two bottles of wine (at an average cost of $16 each) and two six-packs of beer per month (at an average cost of $15 each). This will add up to $62.00 per month. Because life doesn’t stop when strollers become household staples, let’s assume the price of drinks is the same for parents and non-parents.
Total drinks cost: $83.50 (per person)
Health and Wellness
In today’s climate, most young people would consider health and wellness more of a necessity than ever before. Unless you have a gym in your condo, a gym membership or yoga class pass is pretty essential to keeping it together. According to Numbeo.com, the average cost of a gym membership in Toronto is $53.32 – a figure that may rightfully seem low to the F45 and yoga studio set. While there are gym memberships for as little as $20-$30 per month, many young professional 30-somethings spend over $100 per month on their fit body cause. So, let’s meet somewhere in the middle and suggest that the average 30-something likely spends a minimum of $70 per month on fitness.
Total health and wellness cost: $70 (per person)
Personal Care and Household Items
By now, you’ve come to realize how the drug store tab for things like soap, dish and laundry detergent, cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, tampons, razors, toothpaste, toilet paper, and skin care products quickly adds up. Let’s not forget that your 30s is also a time that pricier, age-combatting serums and creams are added to the mix. While this amount can understandably vary between people and genders, it’s safe to assume that the minimum you’ll spend on such things as a single person is about $45.00 per month.
Naturally, if you have kids, your drugstore tab is going to be a lot higher. The average cost of diapers is $72.00 per month. Add baby wipes at $25.00 per month, diaper rash cream $10.00 per month, and baby soap at $6.00 per month, and you can expect to spend $113.00 per month just to keep one kid clean. To be safe, let’s add another $25 in household costs to account for other baby-related drugstore and household items (they are messy little humans) per month. So, you can add $138.00 – or $69.00 when divided by two – to your personal care and household items tab if you have a kid in diapers.
Total personal care and household items cost: $114 (per person)
Based on packages from major providers Rogers and Bell, the average phone bill for a 4 GB plan with unlimited texting and calls within Canada will dent the wallet by about $90 per month.
Total phone cost: $90 (per person)
Whether it’s a surprise computer repair, a broken home appliance, a pricey prescription, or a last-minute flight, unexpected extras inevitably pop up – whether you have a child or not. Then there are things like the clothes on your back, haircuts, concert tickets, birthday and baby shower gifts (for others), and anything else that isn’t essential to live, but nice to have. The average cost of extras is estimated at around $200.00 per month for an individual 30-something.
Of course, nothing will increase your extras tab more than adding kids to the mix. If you have two children, add another $150.00 to this extra tab. This accounts for clothing, baby gear you didn’t know you needed, and unexpected costs.
“Try to keep your emotional side in check when buying for your kids My number one tip is to buy everything you can secondhand or tap into your own network of friends and family for hand-me-downs,” said Ahmed-Haq. “Kids stuff is so gently used that buying anything new or brand name seems like almost a waste. From my own experience, I have definitely donated clothes or given clothes away that were worn two or three times.. Be minimalist with your kids clothing because they don’t need them. You just need a few things they can wear over and over again for three months before you move onto the next size. You can look up a toy on Facebook marketplace and go down the street to pick it up for 1/5 of the price.”
Total extras cost: $275 (per person)
By your 30s, you come to realize the value of investing in vacations – even if this involves a handful of local weekend getaways or staycations per year – when it comes to work/life balance and mental health. Assuming a weeklong vacation with flights will typically set you back at least $2000, you should try to allocate $167.00 per month to that vacation fund.
Of course, vacation costs can get crazy once kids enter the equation, but let’s assume they haven’t reached jet-set status yet and add another $1000 to the yearly tab for a family with two kids (understanding that a vacation could mean something as simple a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge). At $3000 per year, you should set aside $250 per month for that “Out of Office” cause.
Total vacation cost per month: $125 (per person)
Monthly Breakdown: With Kids
*Assuming total costs are split between two people*
Housing: $2,315 (average blend of owning and renting cost)
Dining Out: $359
Health and Wellness: $70
Personal Care: $114
TOTALS PER PERSON:
This means an approximate minimum annual salary of $102,000 before taxes to bring home a yearly income of $73,569 per year.
Keep in mind, if you rent, don’t own a car, or eat-in every night of the week, there’s a lot of room to save and cut corners. This is simply intended to offer insight into the average cost many professionals in their 30s are facing when trying to live with kids in downtown Toronto… and have any fun at all. If you do find ways to save some money, we suggest one of the ways to spend it wisely would be to start putting it towards an RESP for your children.