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Breakdown: This is the Minimum Amount of Money a Young Professional Needs to Live in Toronto

While life in Toronto is pretty sweet, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.

No matter how successful he or she may be, it seems most young professionals (YPs) complain that they need more money to actually live – not just to survive.

At the end of the day, the culture, lifestyle, and overall vibe of the city is worth sacrificing square feet, backyards, and even an annual winter vacation for most of us.


While The Economist ranked Toronto as the #1 best city in the world to live, the publication also ranked it among the worst when it comes to cost of living.

Here’s how much it will cost you to live in Toronto. Bare minimum.

Not that we need to remind you (your house-hunting friends do that enough), but even the smallest detached home will set you back at least a million dollars in Toronto, if you’re looking to buy.

When it comes to renting, the looming first of the month is a time of anxiety for many Toronto young professionals – especially those in entry-level positions or in the arts. According to, a website that compares costs of living in global cities (using crowd-sourcing), the average monthly cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is $1,456.33. For most entry-level positions, that eats up an entire pay cheque. According to the site, the average cost of utilities is $149.92/month.

So, if you’re a single young professional in a one-bedroom apartment (a condo will set you back even more), you’re looking at $1606.25/month just to keep that roof over your head – and that doesn’t include your internet bill. With Internet (you can add another $54.21 for that – we’re not even going to touch how much your phone could be), basic living expenses are $1660.46. 


Maybe it’s time to start looking for a roommate.

There’s really no other way to say it: getting around the city is a total nightmare at the moment. Basically, the perpetual traffic, congestion, and construction only makes the TTC that much more annoying, and your cab or Uber metre that much higher. While the TTC costs $3.00 each way (so, $30/week to and from work), if you use it often enough, it makes more sense to splurge on a MetroPass ($141.50) at the beginning of the month – even if it comes at the same time as your rent payment. As for taxicabs, it will set you back $4.25 just to sit in the back of one…if they even let you in.

So, even if you made the most of your MetroPass, most young professionals will find themselves in a cab/Uber at least a couple of times a month. So, it’s safe to assume that the minimum many (but not all – we’re looking at you cyclists and walkers) people are paying for transportation is $165/month.

In conversation with many fellow young professionals, it was revealed that, on average, a single person who eats at home tends to spend about $100/week on groceries.

So, at bare minimum, you’re looking at $400/month just to properly nourish yourself…in the home that’s costing you $1600.

Photo: Craig White
Photo: Craig White

Entertainment and Dining Out
The past decade has placed Toronto on the map on the global arts, culture, fashion, and entertainment scene. There’s literally something to do every night. According to, the average price of a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant is, on average, $70.00 – a figure that seems quite low to many young professionals who like to consider themselves on trend (as in, they like to dine at places that don’t start with Mc).

Either way, assuming you pick up the tab just twice a month, dining out will set you back a minimum of $140/month. And this is dinner we’re talking about, not dinner and a movie, or dinner and a snack.

While those of us who are old enough to remember when $2 drinks were a thing, we’re now wise enough to know that will never happen again. The average price of a drink (and tip) at a Toronto bar or restaurant (including beer, mixed drinks, wine, and cocktails) works out to currently be about $10 – and that’s pretty much unheard of for a cocktail, which can set you back as much as $18.00 a pop.

So, assuming you go out five times a month (and that’s pretty modest for us hard working and hard playing YPs) and have an average of three drinks each time (again, modest), you’re spending a minimum of $150/month on nights out – and that doesn’t even take into account a single late night poutine.

Health and Fitness
Unless you have a decent gym in your condo, a gym membership or yoga class pass is pretty essential for a Toronto YP. According to, the average cost of a gym membership is $55.06 – a figure that seems surprisingly low to most YPs.

Either way, maintaining that healthy body of yours will add a minimum of $55.06 to your monthly budget.

 So, basically, here’s what you’re spending on living expenses:

Housing/Utilities: $1660.46
Groceries: $400
Dining Out:$140.00
Health and Fitness:$55.06

Total: $2,570.52

So, assuming you’re paying your standard Ontario taxes, you need to make a minimum of $38K a year to even have a dollar left in your account at the end of the month.

Sure, many of you are happy hearing that number, but let’s remember that we haven’t included anything like, you know, the clothes on your back, a haircut, a little something we like to call student debt payments, a single coffee at your favourite coffee shop, or even a bottle of wine to pair with your Netflix ($7.99 a month) and chill.

It’s no wonder a lot of young professionals in Toronto aren’t saving for a rainy day but rather just feel like they’re constantly living under a cloud.

Title image credit Mike Palmer.


Erin Davis

Erin is a Toronto-based actor, writer and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis