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Basic Living Costs in Vancouver: A Few Facts and Figures You Should Know

If you’re moving to a new city or a new country, the chances are you’re not going to be familiar with the basic prices of everyday things.

If you’re moving to a new city or a new country, the chances are you’re not going to be familiar with the basic prices of everyday things. Bread, milk, rent, a pint – it’s going to take you a while to figure out what’s reasonable to pay and what’s not! 

Rent

The average rental price in Vancouver is around $1,450 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, and $1,000 per month for one further out (excluding bills). As is always the case, if you go for a share it will be a lot cheaper - a three bedroom apartment is just over $1,000 per month per person for something in the city centre, and between $600-700 in the suburbs. The price of renting in Vancouver is on the pricier end of things for both central and suburban properties, but there are ways of finding cheaper accommodation (link to accommodation blog post). 

Food

A litre of milk is around $2 and a loaf of fresh bread is around $3. Fruit is reasonably priced, but meat and dairy – cheese in particular - are more expensive than average in Vancouver, and foods near their expiry date are not reduced, which can be a huge blow if you’re a student used to subsisting off reduced Tesco sandwiches. However, bulk-buying and couponing – as well as knowing where to shop – can provide a hefty slash to your food budget. Find out more here (link to food blog). 

Transportation

Transportation in Vancouver is currently based on a three-zone system, with one-way fees ranging from $2.75 to $5.50 adult and $1.75 to $3.75 concession. You can travel for 90 minutes on the same fare, and fees are the same regardless of what method of transport you take if it’s bus, SkyTrain or SeaBus (bear in mind that West Coast Express trains are priced differently).

Off-peak fares occur on weekends and after 6:30pm on weekdays, where fees for travelling between all zones are capped at $2.75. You save money and time by buying a monthly or weekly travel card, which varies in price depending on whether you qualify for concession fares (e.g. children/students/seniors) and where you live.

A tap-in system called Compass was in development, but is currently on hold indefinitely. 

The average Canadian tax refund is $998

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Gas/Clothes/Misc

If you’re coming from outside of the US (Europe in particular) you’ll find the price of gasoline relatively cheap at only $1.30 - $1.50 per litre. As for clothes, jeans are relatively cheap with a designer pair (like Levi’s) going for around $65 – the prices for other branded clothing, meanwhile, is pretty average for a large Occidental city, with a pair of Nikes averaging at around $108 and a summer dress in a chain store going for around $45.

Wining and Dining!

A beer in a restaurant or bar averages out at around $5.50 draught and $6.50 a bottle, which isn’t especially pricey – an inexpensive meal is around $6, and a three course meal for two around $70. A lot of Vancouver’s bars serve their own craft beers - great for your inner hipster. You can find out more about Vancouver’s nightlife here. 

About The Author

Lisa Gibbons - Business Development Manager @ Taxback.com

A motivated marketing/events professional. Ability to understand customer needs and develop customer relationships effectively. A passionate individual with the skills to drive business opportunities.

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