Meet Stephanie and Celestian, a couple living in Vancouver – one of the most expensive cities in North America – yet their spending is well under $1500 a month. They do not sacrifice quality of life, but simply have an efficient lifestyle design. Their new book draws on our personal experience and gives detailed, Vancouver-focused advice. They give specific advice on where to shop for groceries, the best neighbourhoods to live in, and where to go for cheap/free entertainment. If you are a recent arrival (or planning to immigrate) to Vancouver, you will find it especially useful, since you can be saving right from the start.
List of 10 tips for affordable living in Vancouver
Trade your car for a bike – it’s easy to get away without a car in Vancouver.
Live close to work – it’s usually cheaper to live in the same city you work than commute from Surrey to Vancouver.
If you earn a moderate income (around $30,000 to $80,000 per year) consider applying for market rate co-op housing.
If you only need a car for occasional use, look into a car-op like Modo or Car2Go.
Make sure you shop for groceries intelligently – figure out which stores have the best prices for the items you buy, and only buy them there.
Check out everything available at the Vancouver Public Library. There aren’t just free books, but also DVDs, video games, film screenings, and lectures on a variety of topics.
Look into discounted tickets for shows – there are many places that sell tickets for cheaper than normal, such as Tickets Tonight same-day half-price tickets, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s All-Access pass for students or people under 30.
Switch to a credit union or free bank – don’t pay fees for a basic chequing or savings account.
Track your expenses carefully for at least a month – if you don’t know what you’re buying, you don’t know what changes you need to make.
Buy used as much as possible – Vancouver has a very active Craigslist, and you save a lot of money. Some used items, like video games or textbooks, are basically as good as buying new.