Budgeting the Cost of Living

It’s incredible to really see how much you spend each day when you create a budget for yourself.

I have yet to set specific goals as I feel it’s a bit early still but I’m now closer to knowing how much money I spend on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. That’s the wonderful thing about math–you can break down the numbers as far down as you like. So now I know what my cost of living in Toronto is: roughly $88 per day.

How did I get that number? I tracked my spending for the last seven months, with January being the most accurate month thus far because I actually tracked it daily as opposed to going back into my bank statements and putting the money into different categories. I then divided my monthly spending by weeks and then the weeks by days to get that final number.

$88 doesn’t seem like a lot of money but it sure adds up. And you know what? That’s just a single female with no mortgage, children or car payments. I’m curious: how does my number stack up against other categories?

Turns out it’s kind of hard to get the daily number cost of living, probably because there are a lot of variables to consider. Here’s the facts:

Toronto is the second most expensive city in Canada to live in, according to Readers Digest. While I thought it was the most expensive, I was surprised to learn that Vancouver is in fact the leader in cost of living expenses in Canada. Expatistan, the “biggest free database of prices in the world” says Toronto is the 33rd most expensive city in the world. So globally Toronto is not the worst city to live in, but certainly not the cheapest either.

My average monthly expenses as of February 2014

Category Average Monthly Cost
Bank Fees $30.87
Bank Withdrawals/Unknown $323.02
Books $8.18
Business Expenses $23.50
Clothing $36.11
Credit Interest $106.45
Entertainment (Books, movies, crochet projects, etc.) $38.44
Food $411.18
Gifts (Christmas, birthdays, etc.) $26.04
Health/Beauty $91.56
Household $6.70
Hydro $44.55
Internet $30.18
Laundry $28.81
Life Insurance $80
Mail $0.69
OSAP $180
Rent $597.49
Savings $17.40
Transportation $158.64
Travel $113.70
VISA Debt Repayment $134
Wool $20.52

The numbers in red are the ones I’d like to bring down and the numbers in blue are what I’d like to bring up. Obviously, the savings and the debt repayment are the most important things I would like to focus my money towards.

The reason my health and beauty category is so high is because I take a medication that is pretty expensive and I don’t have health insurance. D’oh. I have options to reduce that cost this year, though. I’ve just been dragging my feet getting around to it. And my transportation costs will continue to go down as I no longer pay for a Metropass. Although we may be getting a car this year, so that number may indeed change drastically (along with all the other ones. Eek!)

I like looking at these numbers and I’d like to do it on a quarterly basis from now on to review how things have changed.

Advertisements